Ukraine end Capello's 100% World Cup record

Ukraine 1 England 0

Robert Green became the first England goalkeeper to be sent off as Fabio Capello saw his 100% World Cup record smashed to pieces by the Ukraine.

Green was dismissed for a professional foul just 15 minutes into what turned out to be one of the worst defensive performances in Capello's time in charge.

Wayne Rooney is exempt from criticism after a towering display which he nearly capped with a last-minute equaliser. But at the back, it was a collective nightmare.

Rio Ferdinand's return to competitive action turned out to be pretty disastrous, making the error that eventually resulted in Green's departure.

Ashley Cole's attempt to atone for an equally crass mistake resulted in him turning Serhiy Nazarenko's shot past David James.

And neither Glen Johnson, nor normally rock-solid skipper John Terry were much better as Capello experienced defeat in a competitive game for the first time.

Along with a few others, it really was not Green's night.

Pelted with flares seconds into the game that resulted in a two-minute hold-up, Green had barely had a touch when Ferdinand made his aberration.

Prior to only his second competitive start in 12 months, Ferdinand spoke of the unspoken knowledge that no-one in Capello's squad can feel sure of their place in South Africa.

In truth, it would be a startling development if the defender did not go.

Yet fitness concerns remain, despite his claim that he is now fully fit.

But neither injury, nor rustiness could be used as an excuse for the rank bad defending that let Artem Milevskiy charge straight through the heart of England's rearguard.

Green came out to confront the striker but only succeeded in sending him sprawling.

In the confusion that followed referee Damir Skomina initially showed Ferdinand a red card before finally sending Green on his way.

David James was his replacement, Aaron Lennon the unlucky man replaced.

After just 15 minutes, it was a major disruption Capello could have done without and the Italian must have had a sense of foreboding as Andriy Shevchenko strode up to take the spot-kick given the number of times the Ukrainian hero has scored against him in the past.

Not this time though. This time he smacked the outside of a post to allow England to continue their dream of completing a perfect qualifying campaign.

For a while, the Three Lions were quite comfortable. They even managed to get forward on a couple of occasions, Rooney predictably getting through the work of two men to make up the numbers.

But when Cole also made a needless error close to his own penalty area there was no reprieve as Milevskiy drove forward before the ball eventually broke to Nazarenko after Johnson had made a tackle.

On the ground where he plays his club football, Nazarenko let fly with relish. Cole flung himself at the ball in a bid to make amends. But he could only divert it into the corner, ending any hope James had of keeping it out.

Cue more flares - and a threat to stop the game, which would actually have been no bad thing as errors continued to undermine England's hopes of pulling level.

Another Ferdinand blunder almost proved costly when the defender's loose header fell to the impressive Milevskiy, whose thunderous shot cannoned back off a post with James hopelessly beaten.

So, while Frank Lampard almost profited from Rooney's astute pass, Capello's half-time demand was for clearer focus, although the loss of Steven Gerrard at half-time shut off one obvious avenue of redemption.

Lampard drove a free-kick into the wall when set to do much better and Rooney's industry almost brought England level near the end in a late surge as Ukraine sweated.

But an equaliser would have been unjust given the sheer volume of basic defensive mistakes, which must have left Capello shell-shocked.

James Milner conceded a corner at the end of a catalogue of clangers, then James needed to make a feet-first save to deny Andriy Yarmolenko, who had been put clean through by Yaroslav Rakitskiy.

It was almost too bad to be true.

Conspiracy theorists wondered whether England might be secretly happy to lose, just to ensure Croatia are knocked out, which will be the case if Ukraine complete the relatively straightforward task of beating Andorra on Wednesday.

If that was supposed to be a consolation, it was totally lost on Capello, who can only hope his players have had all their bad luck and endured all their calamities on one night.

For if they repeat this showing, with 10 men or 11 in South Africa next year, they won't be away from home very long.

Have you tried new the Independent Digital Edition apps?
Caption competition
Caption competition
Latest stories from i100
Have you tried new the Independent Digital Edition apps?

Bleacher Report

Daily Quiz
SPONSORED FEATURES
Independent Dating
and  

By clicking 'Search' you
are agreeing to our
Terms of Use.

Career Services

Day In a Page

Refugee crisis: David Cameron lowered the flag for the dead king of Saudi Arabia - will he do the same honour for little Aylan Kurdi?

Cameron lowered the flag for the dead king of Saudi Arabia...

But will he do the same honour for little Aylan Kurdi, asks Robert Fisk
Our leaders lack courage in this refugee crisis. We are shamed by our European neighbours

Our leaders lack courage in this refugee crisis. We are shamed by our European neighbours

Humanity must be at the heart of politics, says Jeremy Corbyn
Joe Biden's 'tease tour': Could the US Vice-President be testing the water for a presidential run?

Joe Biden's 'tease tour'

Could the US Vice-President be testing the water for a presidential run?
Britain's 24-hour culture: With the 'leisured society' a distant dream we're working longer and less regular hours than ever

Britain's 24-hour culture

With the 'leisured society' a distant dream we're working longer and less regular hours than ever
Diplomacy board game: Treachery is the way to win - which makes it just like the real thing

The addictive nature of Diplomacy

Bullying, betrayal, aggression – it may be just a board game, but the family that plays Diplomacy may never look at each other in the same way again
Lady Chatterley's Lover: Racy underwear for fans of DH Lawrence's equally racy tome

Fashion: Ooh, Lady Chatterley!

Take inspiration from DH Lawrence's racy tome with equally racy underwear
8 best children's clocks

Tick-tock: 8 best children's clocks

Whether you’re teaching them to tell the time or putting the finishing touches to a nursery, there’s a ticker for that
Charlie Austin: Queens Park Rangers striker says ‘If the move is not right, I’m not going’

Charlie Austin: ‘If the move is not right, I’m not going’

After hitting 18 goals in the Premier League last season, the QPR striker was the great non-deal of transfer deadline day. But he says he'd preferred another shot at promotion
Isis profits from destruction of antiquities by selling relics to dealers - and then blowing up the buildings they come from to conceal the evidence of looting

How Isis profits from destruction of antiquities

Robert Fisk on the terrorist group's manipulation of the market to increase the price of artefacts
Labour leadership: Andy Burnham urges Jeremy Corbyn voters to think again in last-minute plea

'If we lose touch we’ll end up with two decades of the Tories'

In an exclusive interview, Andy Burnham urges Jeremy Corbyn voters to think again in last-minute plea
Tunisia fears its Arab Spring could be reversed as the new regime becomes as intolerant of dissent as its predecessor

The Arab Spring reversed

Tunisian protesters fear that a new law will whitewash corrupt businessmen and officials, but they are finding that the new regime is becoming as intolerant of dissent as its predecessor
King Arthur: Legendary figure was real and lived most of his life in Strathclyde, academic claims

Academic claims King Arthur was real - and reveals where he lived

Dr Andrew Breeze says the legendary figure did exist – but was a general, not a king
Who is Oliver Bonas and how has he captured middle-class hearts?

Who is Oliver Bonas?

It's the first high-street store to pay its staff the living wage, and it saw out the recession in style
Earth has 'lost more than half its trees' since humans first started cutting them down

Axe-wielding Man fells half the world’s trees – leaving us just 422 each

However, the number of trees may be eight times higher than previously thought
60 years of Scalextric: Model cars are now stuffed with as much tech as real ones

60 years of Scalextric

Model cars are now stuffed with as much tech as real ones