Capello passes test despite sceptics

England 2 Switzerland 1IN a typically lack lustre international football friendly at Wembley Stadium, new England coach Fabio Capello passed his first test.

Elvin King

England 2 Switzerland 1

IN a typically lack lustre international football friendly at Wembley Stadium, new England coach Fabio Capello passed his first test.

Inheriting a job where anything other than winning the world cup in 2010 will be considered a failure, the Italian made a good start last night.


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He played a cool hand on Tuesday by making it plain that he wants his players to dedicate themselves to the cause.

It will be surnames only and minds on the job in every England get-together.

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This was well received by a fickle England public fed on a recent diet of Eriksson lethargy and McClaren ineptitude.

Capella, as well qualified as anyone if ten years too old for the job, was quickly put in the picture of the pressure that goes with his new post.

Twice during the game against a reasonably good Swiss side, who are co-hosts for this summer's Euro 2008 party that England are missing, boos rang round the ground.

How do you describe an England fan?

On one hand he cannot wait to 'waste' a good proportion of his weekly wage to watch a game interrupted and turned into little more than a training ground kickabout by a succession of substitutes.

Yet on the other hand, he cannot wait to show his disproval if a 3-0 win is not achieved every game regardless of the quality of the opposition.

It is to England's credit that both times the atmosphere started to turn sour they scored. And two good goals they were too.

Capello had them working, had them thinking and had them in a frame of mind to put in a decent shift and get the job done.

There is no doubt that on ability England have the ingredients to make a statement in world football.

It needs to be harnessed, and on first view Capello is capable of achieving this.

Wayne Rooney showed his golden touch while on the pitch and Joe Cole and David Bentley reached their normal club levels.

But otherwise it was not particularly good from England - and there is plenty more work to be done.

Unlike cricket, rugby union and most other professional sports, the national game is not king in football any more.

Clubs are so powerful at the top level that the Rooney's of this world will always answer to their clubs first - where they earn their riches and where they play 90% of their games.

Why people pay to attend international friendlies I have no idea. But those who did last night can at least say that they were there when a straight-backed, 61-year-old Italian started his quest to put English football back on the right road.

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