Capello: 'We were not at their level. Their first goal was a gift'

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The Independent Football

A record-equalling cap for David Beckham but the England manager, Fabio Capello, last night said he did not expect the 33-year-old to be happy with the manner in which his 108th appearance for his country was collected. "One record and he lost [the game]," Capello said. "I was more happy that we wouldn't lose. I'm happy for David – it's an important record. But I think he would be disappointed to have equalled the record and lost."

There was also some surprise that Beckham collected a late booking for dissent, after he complained about a Glen Johnson foul, although the player himself spoke of the "honour" of equalling Bobby Moore's record for an outfield player.

"To be up there with Bobby Moore, Billy Wright, Bobby Charlton is something special," Beckham said. "Bobby Moore was a World Cup-winner, a captain, a legend I can never match. But it's an honour to be mentioned in the same breath as him." When asked if he could now beat that record, he said: "Of course, I hope to but we will see."

However, Beckham, who reiterated his desire to stay with Milan and agree a deal to leave LA Galaxy, conceded that Spain had deserved to win, adding: "More important is the game and we've lost." Beckham said: "They were always going to bring pressure on us because they keep the ball so well. They got two good goals."

Capello dismissed England's performance as "very poor" and added that he was annoyed at the manner of both goals conceded by his team, who were "not at the level" of Spain. "The first goal was a gift,' he said while complaining about the marking at the set piece for the second.

Having delivered many lessons himself since taking over as England manager, Capello admitted it was Spain doing the tuition last night. "I think that this game was very important for us," he said. "We played against one of the best teams in the world and we know the difficulties we met during the game. We now understand a lot of things about my team and about the opponents. I learnt a lot of things for the next game we have to play for World Cup qualification.

"Spain have one of the best midfields in the world. They're very good at keeping possession. But, at the same time, they create goal chances. But so do we. I understand when you play against teams who play with the style of Spain, and this is very important. Very important for the future. We have to do this when we come up against sides like this. I learnt a lot.

"Against a team with one forward and a lot of players in midfield we have problems to get the ball. It was important to understand which level we have not only in playing but physically. But we can do better."

Spain's rating as the best team in the world by Fifa is a measure of how much England have to improve. "We can't play the same style, but we have to play with our style with the players that we have at this time," Capello said. "Spain played well because it's the same team that won the Euros. They played with memory. For me, it was an important test for a lot of players.

"They move very naturally on the pitch and know each other so well, and can punish you at any time if you make one mistake. They're up there with a few other teams in contention to win the World Cup."

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