It’s funny how quickly things can change in football. Twelve months ago Fabio Capello was at the top of his game as he guided the England National Team to a very impressive World Cup qualification campaign.
Capello was seen as a miracle worker as he took virtually the same squad who failed to qualify for the 2008 Euro’s under Steve McClaren, to the 2010 World Cup after an impressive 5-1 win over Croatia at Wembley.
Every Tom, Dick and Harry was singing the Italian’s praises, claiming he was the best thing to happen to English football since sliced bread. Fast forward to August 2010 to see the extent of Cappello’s fall from grace.
England’s World Cup campaign was a massive disappointment considering the manner in which they qualified. England only managed to win one of the four games they played in, while also being humiliated 5-1 by arch rivals Germany in the last 16. But even before the World Cup started there were signs of what was to come.
Capello, known as a strict disciplinarian, stripped John Terry of his captaincy after news broke about Terry’s affair with England team-mate Wayne Bridge’s girlfriend. Naming injury prone Rio Ferdinand as skipper was also not the wisest decision from the Italian. The goalkeeper conundrum was another problem which followed the National Team into the World Cup. Capello only decided two hours before their opening game against USA who his number one between the sticks would be.
The 2010 World Cup campaign destroyed Capello’s bastion of invincibility and after further embarrassment suffered through the infamous Capello index website, the Italian decided to get away from it all as he dashed off for a much-needed holiday with his family.
Capello resurfaced this weekend as he named his squad to take on Hungary in an International friendly on Wednesday, whilst also issuing an apology to the Nation. Capello dropped 13 of his World Cup flops as he attempted to start the rebuilding phase with youngsters like Arsenal’s Jack Wilshere while also recalling players who he gave the boot before the World Cup.
Capello could not have foreseen what would happen next as both Paul Robinson and Wes Brown responded to their call-up for the Hungary game by promptly announcing their retirement from International football, disappointed by being bit-part players for a manager who went back on his initial promise of choosing players who were on form ahead of the big name stars.
Rumour has it Nick Barmby and Danny Murphy will also be retiring from International duty….as soon as they get a call up that is! In all seriousness though Capello finds himself in a similar position that Steve McCalern was in not too long ago. He has lost the respect of his players, while the media and supporters are starting to doubt him. Managers who are after the England job are starting to sharpen their knives, ready to strike at the right moment. The ship is sinking and the longer he stays on as England boss the more damage he will do to his reputation and impressive CV.