'Angry' Capello suffers further embarrassment over Index error

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The Independent Football

Fabio Capello, the England manager, looks to have survived the latest controversy over his ill-advised Capello Index after the website published damning assessments of his players' World Cup performances.

Capello moved quickly on Saturday to disassociate himself from the ratings being released. "I did not authorise this and am angry the index was published," he said.

Meanwhile, the Italian's representatives moved to have the rankings removed from the internet and, by yesterday, only the players from the four semi-finalists – Spain, the Netherlands, Uruguay and Germany – were still available.

The Football Association also released a statement saying the rankings had not been approved. A spokesman from the FA said that "the index ratings had not been seen or approved by Mr Capello, were published without his knowledge and his representatives have taken immediate steps to have the material taken down."

The rankings first appeared on Saturday and were not kind to the England players after they were knocked out at the last-16 stage in South Africa following a 4-1 defeat to Germany. Perhaps unsurprisingly given their early exit, not a single England international appeared in the top 45 players from the tournament and Steven Gerrard was the only member of the squad to be ranked in the top 100 performers of the group stages – coming in at a lowly number 65.

That left him behind five players England faced in Group C: Michael Bradley (ranked 12th), Tim Howard (22) and Landon Donovan (29) of the United States; Samir Handanovic (45) of Slovenia and Algeria's Rafik Halliche (52). Also in the top 100 were Slovenia's Valter Birsa (84), the United States' Clint Dempsey (97) and Algeria's Antar Yahia (100).

Three England players were named in the top 100 up to the last 16 stage, with Gerrard ranked at 71, John Terry at 87 and Matthew Upson sneaking in at 100.

Under the complicated system used by the website, Gerrard did not have the highest overall mark within the England squad but his average score of 60.99 was the highest among those to feature in all four matches. Jermain Defoe emerged with the highest average mark at 62.47 but only featured in two games.

Goalkeeper Robert Green got the lowest mark for the tournament, with a score of 51.67, having only played in the opening match against the United States, when his error gifted Dempsey a soft equaliser.

Capello ranked Uruguay's Diego Forlan as the best player at the tournament overall, coming to the same conclusion as Fifa, who awarded the Atletico Madrid man the Golden Ball. His overall score was 65.77.

Two Germans came in second and third – Miroslav Klose followed by Thomas Muller. Tournament winners Spain took the next three spots, with Andres Iniesta fourth, Xavi fifth and David Villa sixth.

The top 10 was completed by Uruguay's Luis Suarez, Holland's Arjen Robben, Germany's Bastian Schweinsteiger and Germany goalkeeper Manuel Neuer.

The move brings into question the future of the controversial website. Initially, it was planned to issue rankings for all World Cup games within two hours of the final whistle, but Capello was forced to abandon that after emergency talks with the Football Association, who were unhappy at a potential source of embarrassment.

A four-week trial of the index towards the end of last season – limited to players from Chelsea, Manchester United, Arsenal, Tottenham, Manchester City and Liverpool – rated Ledley King, Michael Dawson and Sol Campbell as the best English central defenders, ahead of John Terry and Rio Ferdinand.

However, Dawson was not called up by Capello until Ferdinand pulled out through injury, and then did not feature even after King's tournament was ended early – Upson was Capello's choice. Campbell was not in the squad.

Likewise, Joe Cole was ranked the third-best English midfield player after Frank Lampard and Paul Scholes, but once the tournament was under way, Capello's reluctance to use the former Chelsea man became a huge talking point.

This coming season, the Capello Index was due to provide rankings on all Premier League, Primera Liga, Serie A and Champions League matches, promising to publish all data no more than two hours after the end of games.

The website uses a statistical system devised by Capello to analyse each player's performance and award a final score out of 100, rather than requiring the Italian to make a judgment call on each match.

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