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
Independent Dating

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

Career Services

Day In a Page

Is a quiet crusade to reform executive pay bearing fruit?

Is a quiet crusade to reform executive pay bearing fruit?

Dominic Rossi of Fidelity says his pressure on business to control rewards is working. But why aren’t other fund managers helping?
The King David Hotel gives precious work to Palestinians - unless peace talks are on

King David Hotel: Palestinians not included

The King David is special to Jerusalem. Nick Kochan checked in and discovered it has some special arrangements, too
More people moving from Australia to New Zealand than in the other direction for first time in 24 years

End of the Aussie brain drain

More people moving from Australia to New Zealand than in the other direction for first time in 24 years
Meditation is touted as a cure for mental instability but can it actually be bad for you?

Can meditation be bad for you?

Researching a mass murder, Dr Miguel Farias discovered that, far from bringing inner peace, meditation can leave devotees in pieces
Eurovision 2015: Australians will be cheering on their first-ever entrant this Saturday

Australia's first-ever Eurovision entrant

Australia, a nation of kitsch-worshippers, has always loved the Eurovision Song Contest. Maggie Alderson says it'll fit in fine
Letterman's final Late Show: Laughter, but no tears, as David takes his bow after 33 years

Laughter, but no tears, as Letterman takes his bow after 33 years

Veteran talkshow host steps down to plaudits from four presidents
Ivor Novello Awards 2015: Hozier wins with anti-Catholic song 'Take Me To Church' as John Whittingdale leads praise for Black Sabbath

Hozier's 'blasphemous' song takes Novello award

Singer joins Ed Sheeran and Clean Bandit in celebration of the best in British and Irish music
Tequila gold rush: The spirit has gone from a cheap shot to a multi-billion pound product

Join the tequila gold rush

The spirit has gone from a cheap shot to a multi-billion pound product
12 best statement wallpapers

12 best statement wallpapers

Make an impact and transform a room with a conversation-starting pattern
Paul Scholes column: Does David De Gea really want to leave Manchester United to fight it out for the No 1 spot at Real Madrid?

Paul Scholes column

Does David De Gea really want to leave Manchester United to fight it out for the No 1 spot at Real Madrid?
Season's finale brings the end of an era for top coaches and players across the continent

The end of an era across the continent

It's time to say farewell to Klopp, Clement, Casillas and Xavi this weekend as they move on to pastures new, reports Pete Jenson
Bin Laden documents released: Papers reveal his obsession with attacking the US and how his failure to keep up with modern jihad led to Isis

'Focus on killing American people'

Released Bin Laden documents reveal obsession with attacking United States
Life hacks: The innovations of volunteers and medical workers are helping Medécins Sans Frontières save people around the world

Medécins Sans Frontières's life hacks

The innovations of volunteers and medical workers around the world are helping the charity save people
Ireland's same-sex marriage vote: As date looms, the Irish ask - how would God vote?

Same-sex marriage

As date looms, the Irish ask - how would God vote?
The underworld is going freelance: Why The Godfather's Mafia model is no longer viable

The Mafia is going freelance

Why the underworld model depicted in The Godfather is no longer viable