Fabio Capello will seek clarity about his future at a meeting with the Club England chairman Sir Dave Richards today and would be prepared to step down if England's 4-1 defeat to Germany has convinced his employers that his position is untenable.
Capello does not want to quit his £4.8m-a-year job after two and a half years but he declared last night he wants to know "whether he [Sir Dave] has confidence in me or not." The meeting is expected to take place at England's Royal Bafokeng base, where the 64-year-old is expected to speak publically today about England's exit. Capello said nothing to the players in the dressing room last night, where he was said to be angry about the manner of the defeat. It is also understood that he said little at half-time.
The FA's decision before the World Cup to remove the break clause in Capello's contract, which enabled them to part company with him after the tournament, means that they would have to pay out at least £10m to terminate a deal which runs until the 2012 European Championships, though the Italian will not stay if he is not wanted. Capello is unpredictable and the possibility cannot be dismisssed of him walking away, with the prospect of a long European qualifying campaign ahead with a side who have so palpably failed here. The Fulham manager Roy Hodgson and Tottenham manager Harry Redknapp were installed as favourites last night.
Adrian Bevington, managing director of Club England, the group set up before the tournament to manage the national team, suggested Capello would be asked to continue his work. "Our position has been consistent and it has not changed in my mind tonight whatsoever. Clearly, Fabio needs to speak with Sir Dave and beyond that I cannot say anything further," he said.
As the inquest began into England's heaviest defeat in a competitive tournament, Capello seized on the Uruguayan linesman Mauricio Espinosa's decision not to allow Frank Lampard's lofted first-half shot which dropped several feet inside Manuel Neuer's goal. The decision was "incredible," Capello said. Even Neuer joked after the game that "I knew it was tight – about two metres."
Captain Steven Gerrard insisted England could not use the error as an excuse. "For me to stand here and say that's the reason we got beat would be a lie," he said, although Capello didn't agree. "The goal was very important," the manager insisted. "We could have played a different style. It is incredible that there is no technology... We played with five referees and they cannot decide whether that it is a goal or not. That one goal would have made the game completely different. They played on the counter-attack after that, and played very well."
Joe Cole was England's harshest critic, declaring they were simply not good enough and hinting at fundamental problems within the squad. The German captain Philipp Lahm said England had been complacent. "Maybe England was not prepared for this game as they should be," he said. "Maybe they underestimated us because our players aren't as famous as the England players."
The defeat revealed England's defence was incapable of dealing with the counter-attacking pace of Man of the Match Thomas Muller and Mesut Ozil, though Capello was indignant about the suggestion that England need rebuilding after the so-called "golden generation" delivered nothing? "You think?" Capello said. "The problem is you don't know the psychology of the players. What happened, after we had been 2-0 down, to get back to 2-2 would have been different. Sometimes the the most important thing is [the psychology]. That is really, really important."
Capello also defended sticking to a 4-4-2 system. "We have played this system always in qualification. No one asked me that question then. We always play the same system. It has not changed. Absolutely not."
Espinosa's extraordinary decision reopened the debate on video technology last night, though Fifa still seem fiercely resistant to it. In a press conference in Johannesburg yesterday Fifa general secretary Jerome Valcke re-iterated the governing body's objection to using any sort of technology to assist referees, saying it was "definitely not on the table."
Lampard said it would have been "a different game" had his goal stood and said there was a need for video technology: "We had a meeting before the World Cup when we were told about a million different rule changes that hardly affect the game and the big one hasn't been brought in."
Lampard said of Capello: "I would like to see him stay on. I have enjoyed working with him and I don't know his contract situation. He is a top manager. When an England team gets knocked out of the World Cup there is a question mark about managers and all players. That is it. It is not really a question for me."