Cool Cup could be good news for Capello

Talking point
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The Independent Football

There has been much talk about South Africa's winter climate enhancing England's World Cup prospects, but it will nevertheless encourage the Football Association that Fifa's Technical Study Group this week provided expert confirmation.

Their technical report on the Confederations Cup, played in South Africa during the summer, noted that "mild temperatures" during evening matches enabled teams "to play at a higher tempo". It adds even afternoon matches were played in a bearable 15-20C.

England tend to play at a very high tempo by international standards, and are still inclined to do so despite the influence of Fabio Capello. They have paid for this at World Cups, notably when given the run-around by 10-man Brazil in Shizuoka during the 2002 quarter-final.

The report added players needed time to adjust to the effects, on their bodies and movement of the ball, of altitude. Capello is planning altitude training in Austria before basing the team at Rustenburg, whose altitude is 5,000ft.

As for the football, tight defences meant most goals came either from the flanks, or from quick counter-attacks. That suggests Aaron Lennon or Theo Walcott will be more successful than David Beckham. Dead-ball specialists were influential, but Beckham is by no means the only exponent in the squad now.

The key attacking players were the likes of "Kaka, Xavi and Giuseppe Rossi", who moved into space between the opposition's midfield and defence as soon as their team had possession, then used their close control to create chances. Wayne Rooney is England's version, another reason for Capello to wince every time he goes into a tackle this season.