Lee Dixon: Capello's stubborn streak cost England but we should not rush to judge him

With England there is always the danger of a knee-jerk reaction. If you had taken a vox pop around a gloomy BBC studio on Sunday night, Fabio Capello would have been gone but this two-week cooling-off period offers a chance to form a proper review of his tenure.

Nevertheless, it can not be encouraging for the Italian that his employers have said they will take time to decide his future. If you were him, the lack of any clear support would not offer any confidence over your future in the job.

His record needs to be seen, and then judged, from the start, not just the disappointment of the last couple of weeks. England arrived in South Africa with plenty of positives and I had nothing but praise for the way he had revitalised a squad that had fallen a long way. Do not overlook the state of the national side when he took over. After the previous regime the standing of the side had slipped drastically and the strict discipline that Capello insisted on was crucial in turning things around pretty quickly.

He is a good manager – his record at club level over a period of time stands alongside most of the top coaches in the game today. But maybe he has needed more time to learn at international level. Not when it comes to qualification, when you only have the players for three or four days and the novelty value of a new man and new ideas lasts longer. The difference between that and a tournament, in terms of finding form and momentum, as well as how you run the camp, are huge. But he is an intelligent man and if he can show that he has learnt from this, then perhaps there is a case for him staying as there are benefits to continuity. he is a talented manager.

Now for the downsides. His decision-making in South Africa has been disappointing; he has not fielded players in their best positions – how many times do I have to keep going back to Steven Gerrard? And his substitutions have been verging on the bizarre: Heskey, the non-scoring striker, for Defoe when you are desperate for a goal. And Peter Crouch, with his scoring record for England, left sitting there in his tracksuit.

The attitude and spirit in the camp has not looked right and his stubbornness can be so frustrating – back to Gerrard again. It's difficult to think of a successful team in international football that uses a rigid 4-4-2. There are moments in a game when teams will drop into two ranks of four when they do not have the ball, but all the leading nations are playing variants of 3-5-2, 4-3-3, 4-5-1. There is no fluidity to England and that comes directly from the system they are being asked to play.

So is it all the manager's fault? Only partly. The lethargy of England's performances was so hard to understand (and I'll explain why in the piece below), but what is not difficult to grasp is the football lesson Germany gave us. It was embarrassing. We were ripped apart time after time and yet the manager made no effort to change the system.

You cannot dump every failing on Capello's doorstep. The players have to take responsibility too. How many of them will have arrived home this morning satisfied with the way they performed? They lacked leadership in Bloemfontein and again that is difficult to comprehend with John Terry, Lampard and Gerrard in the line-up. The decision making on the pitch, as well as off it, was poor. How many times have you seen Terry get dragged out of position – as he was for that terrible first goal – when he plays for Chelsea? The communication between the centre-halves was very poor and it was little better throughout the side.

There are deep problems with the game in England, the way we bring players through compared to countries such as Germany and Holland, the coaching structures all the way from grass roots upwards. The list is a familiar one. These issues have to be addressed but must not be allowed to paper over the cracks of the disastrous performance in South Africa by experienced players – five of the line-up against Germany have played in a Champions League final – and a manager who had promised so much more. The system cannot take the blame.

If Capello goes, and the indications are that he will, then the best candidate to succeed him is Roy Hodgson. In the past the FA have been too quick to look abroad, but Hodgson's credentials are impeccable, among them significant experience of international management. He is the right man for the job.

Winter break would help but tiredness does not explain England effort

Wayne Rooney looked shattered in every game. He doesn't look like he enjoyed one kick in South Africa. England have looked tired from the start and even the Slovenia performance has to be weighed against how bad the opposition were.

But tiredness, and the long English season, is no excuse – the statistics do not back the claim that our domestic season takes so much out of the England side. If you take the leading German players, they have played as many games over the last season as Lampard, Gerrard and Rooney.

When Rooney really plays he has that devil in his eye, a look of schoolboy naughtiness – he is happy. But he has been nothing of the sort here. At the root of the problem is that it does not seem as if he is fit. Yet compare him to Arjen Robben who is also not at the peak of fitness either but has still plucked a vital goal out of somewhere at a key moment for the Dutch, a side that relies heavily on the Bayern man. Rooney had so many hopes on his shoulders and he has finished well short of fulfilling them.

I spoke to Clarence Seedorf about England players such as Rooney looking so worn out and he is a big believer in the winter break. In his experiences it definitely helped refresh him. But are the Premier League going to agree to go without their Christmas and New Year fixtures? I don't think so.

* Dutch don't look great – but at least they're still in it

The Dutch were nothing special yesterday. They have a few issues defensively to sort out and if teams can stop Van Persie, Robben and Sneijder they look pretty functional. But they have been getting better slowly and, as Seedorf let us know, they are still in the tournament.





* Argentina not the only side struggling at the back Argentina have been the stand-out team of the tournament so far and have the best attack. They too have defensive issues – that is something of a theme of this World Cup. There are few sides who look really solid at the back and plenty of teams now left in the tournament with plenty in attack. It promises a good last couple of weeks.





* Germans have what it takes to win game of tournament The Germany v Argentina quarter-final next Saturday has the makings of the game of the tournament. England rarely managed to show up the frailties in the German defence – Per Mertesacker lacks pace in the middle and Argentina have the speed in attack to exploit that. But Germany were very impressive in rising to the occasion against England and I just have a sneaky feeling that they might do it again.





* No excuse for Fifa not to bring in goal-line technology Fifa's opposition to goal-line technology is ridiculous. There is no point in leaving it to the human eye when the technology is there and all too easy to use. It took a few seconds for us to see the replay of the Lampard "goal". It would make next to no difference to the flow of the game. There is no reason not to introduce it.





* Expect Portuguese to sit back and rely on Ronaldo Spain's game against Portugal tonight is one I am really looking forward to, although I expect Portugal will try to stifle their neighbours rather than try and take the attack to them and lean on Ronaldo to provide the spark.

News
Alan Bennett criticised the lack of fairness in British society encapsulated by the private school system
peopleBut he does like Stewart Lee
Sport
David Moyes and Louis van Gaal
football
Arts and Entertainment
Sheridan Smith as Cilla Black and Ed Stoppard as her manager Brian Epstein
tvCilla Episode 2 review: Grit under the glamour in part two of biopic series starring Sheridan Smith
Life and Style
Alan Turing, who was convicted of gross indecency in 1952, was granted a royal pardon last year
life
PROMOTED VIDEO
Have you tried new the Independent Digital Edition apps?
Life and Style
life
Arts and Entertainment
Tennis player Andy Murray's mum Judy has been paired with Anton du Beke for Strictly Come Dancing. 'I'm absolutely delighted,' she said.
tvJudy Murray 'struggling' to let Anton Du Beke take control on Strictly
Life and Style
Vote with your wallet: the app can help shoppers feel more informed about items on sale
lifeNew app reveals political leanings of food companies
Arts and Entertainment
The cover of Dark Side of the Moon
musicCan 'The Endless River' carry on the tradition? See for yourself
Sport
New Zealand fly-half Aaron Cruden pictured in The Zookeeper's Son on a late-night drinking session
rugby
Arts and Entertainment
Worldwide ticket sales for The Lion King musical surpassed $6.2bn ($3.8bn) this summer
tvMusical is biggest grossing show or film in history
Voices
A new app has been launched that enables people to have a cuddle from a stranger
voicesMaybe the new app will make it more normal to reach out to strangers
Arts and Entertainment
Salmond told a Scottish television chat show in 2001that he would also sit in front of a mirror and say things like,
tvCelebrity Trekkies from Alex Salmond to Barack Obama
News
i100
Life and Style
food + drink
News
Rob Merrick's Lobby Journalists were playing Ed Balls' Labour Party MPs. The match is an annual event which takes place ahead of the opening of the party conference
newsRob Merrick insistes 'Ed will be hurting much more than me'
News
A cabin crew member photographed the devastation after one flight
news
Life and Style
Carol O'Brien, whose son Rob suffered many years of depression
healthOne mother's story of how London charity Maytree helped her son with his depression
Caption competition
Caption competition
Latest stories from i100
Have you tried new the Independent Digital Edition apps?

Bleacher Report

Daily Quiz
Independent Dating
and  

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

Day In a Page

Secret politics of the weekly shop

The politics of the weekly shop

New app reveals political leanings of food companies
Beam me up, Scottie!

Beam me up, Scottie!

Celebrity Trekkies from Alex Salmond to Barack Obama
Beware Wet Paint: The ICA's latest ambitious exhibition

Beware Wet Paint

The ICA's latest ambitious exhibition
Pink Floyd have produced some of rock's greatest ever album covers

Pink Floyd have produced some of rock's greatest ever album covers

Can 'The Endless River' carry on the tradition?
Sanctuary for the suicidal

Sanctuary for the suicidal

One mother's story of how London charity Maytree helped her son with his depression
A roller-coaster tale from the 'voice of a generation'

Not That Kind of Girl:

A roller-coaster tale from 'voice of a generation' Lena Dunham
London is not bedlam or a cradle of vice. In fact it, as much as anywhere, deserves independence

London is not bedlam or a cradle of vice

In fact it, as much as anywhere, deserves independence
Vivienne Westwood 'didn’t want' relationship with Malcolm McLaren

Vivienne Westwood 'didn’t want' relationship with McLaren

Designer 'felt pressured' into going out with Sex Pistols manager
Jourdan Dunn: Model mother

Model mother

Jordan Dunn became one of the best-paid models in the world
Apple still coolest brand – despite U2 PR disaster

Apple still the coolest brand

Despite PR disaster of free U2 album
Scottish referendum: The Yes vote was the love that dared speak its name, but it was not to be

Despite the result, this is the end of the status quo

Boyd Tonkin on the fall-out from the Scottish referendum
Manolo Blahnik: The high priest of heels talks flats, Englishness, and why he loves Mary Beard

Manolo Blahnik: Flats, Englishness, and Mary Beard

The shoe designer who has been dubbed 'the patron saint of the stiletto'
The Beatles biographer reveals exclusive original manuscripts of some of the best pop songs ever written

Scrambled eggs and LSD

Behind The Beatles' lyrics - thanks to Hunter Davis's original manuscript copies
'Normcore' fashion: Blending in is the new standing out in latest catwalk non-trend

'Normcore': Blending in is the new standing out

Just when fashion was in grave danger of running out of trends, it only went and invented the non-trend. Rebecca Gonsalves investigates
Dance’s new leading ladies fight back: How female vocalists are now writing their own hits

New leading ladies of dance fight back

How female vocalists are now writing their own hits