All the figures show that Capello's tired excuse is nothing more than that

Statistics reveal that England are better than average in May and June. Glenn Moore crunches the numbers

Fabio Capello blamed fatigue after England's 2-2 draw at Wembley on Saturday. "It is not my idea they are really tired. You can see on the pitch," he said, which translates from his idiosyncratic English to everyday language as: "I'm not making this up you know, you can see it for yourself. They're knackered".

We could. As they tried and failed to close down Switzerland in the final 10 minutes England's players looked leaden-footed and drained, physically and mentally.

Capello added: "I told you that during the training, they trained one hour really well, but the game is one-hour-and-a-half. The game we played in Switzerland [in September, won 3-1], the game we played in Wales [in March, won 2-0], we pressed, we won back the ball quickly. This time, this game, it was difficult. When you lose the ball, you need to win back the ball. We spend a lot of time [trying] to win back the ball. We are not so fresh. When we have the ball it is difficult because if you run 60kph, and others run 100kph, it is difficult to pass through. [So you make] passes back."

So concerned was Capello he did not use his third substitution until the 78th-minute as he feared a player would get cramp. Even then, he said, it was "a risk". But Euro 2012 is in the summer. Will he not face the same problem next year? "I don't know. We will try to find a solution. I hope so. The problem is not quality, it is energy."

It has long been accepted that England's footballers are tired in the summer after a long domestic and European season, and that the problem is made worse by a style of play which involves a lot of running after the ball and is poorly suited to warm weather. It is why Michel Platini once described English footballers as "lions in winter, lambs in summer," and yet results do not back this up and John Terry (left) said after Saturday's game: "We're certainly not going to use an excuse like that."

Since the turn of the Millennium – during which time most leading teams have regularly competed extensively in Europe as well as at home - England have played 133 internationals, winning 76, losing 25, which works out at winning 57.1 per cent, losing 18.7 per cent.

Thirty-two of these matches have been in June, most at tournaments which have all finished in failure to various degrees. Yet England have won 19 (57.6 per cent) and lost five (15.2 per cent). In a nutshell, England, tired they may be, nevertheless play marginally better in June than during the rest of the year.

It is not the only unexpected statistic. While it is no surprise that England are ordinary in August (rusty), but strong in September (still fresh, but in the groove) they are excellent in April and May, but poor in November.

The impressive May results are not entirely due to facing pre-tournament cannon fodder like Iceland and Jamaica, they include fixtures against Brazil and away to the United States. One factor is that at the end of the season an England manager gets more time to work with his players and develop a cohesion that was lacking on Saturday – hardly surprising given Capello has used 37 players in nine matches this season, including seven different centre-half combinations.

The balance Capello has to strike, should England qualify for Euro 2012, is between making his players do the necessary hours on the training pitch, and allowing them much-needed rest.

Capello may, incidentally, be cheered by another surprise statistic. Despite Saturday's draw his win-percentage remains higher than any previous England manager at 64.8 per cent, ahead of Sir Alf Ramsey (61.1 per cent) and Glenn Hoddle (60.7 per cent).

Darren Bent's miss: Was it England's worst ever?

Jeff Astle

Brazil 1-0 England, World Cup, group stage, 1970

Following a mix-up in the Brazilian defence, the ball falls to Jeff Astle, on his favoured left foot and completely unmarked near the penalty spot, but the West Bromwich striker hurriedly skews his shot wide. England went on to qualify from the group behind Brazil.



Kevin Keegan

England 0-0 Spain, World Cup second round, 1982

Having come on as a substitute with England needing two goals to reach the semi-finals, Kevin Keegan squandered a free header from six yards out. It was the last time Keegan played for England.



Gary Lineker

Argentina 2-1 England, World Cup quarter-final 1986

With three minutes of the game remaining, and England needing an equaliser to send the game into extra time, John Barnes sends in a cross from the left, which goalkeeper Nery Pumpido fails to deal with, leaving Gary Lineker to dive in from three yards out. However, confronted by two defenders, the ball evades the striker, who picks up an injury in the process.



Alan Shearer

England 0-0 Spain (England won 4-2 on penalties), Euro '96 quarter-final

Deep into the second half, and after a fine counter-attacking move, Paul Gascoigne crosses low into the area for Alan Shearer, who slides in to meet the cross four yards out for what looked like a certain goal, but somehow he hits the ball over the bar. It did not knock Shearer's confidence too much, however; he finished the tournament as top scorer.



And the most agonising...

Paul Gascoigne

England 1-1 Germany (Germany won 6-5 on penalties), Euro '96 semi-final

With the game stretched in extra time, Shearer volleys a cross into the area past goalkeeper Oliver Kahn. The advancing Gascoigne desperately stretches out a leg, but misses the ball by inches. England go on to memorably lose on penalties.

Voices
voicesGood for Lana Del Rey for helping kill that myth, writes Grace Dent
Sport
The Pipes and Drums of The Scottish Regiments perform during the Opening Ceremony for the Glasgow 2014 Commonwealth Games at Celtic Park on July 23, 2014 in Glasgow, Scotland.
Commonwealth GamesThe actor encouraged the one billion viewers of the event to donate to the children's charity
Sport
Karen Dunbar performs
Entertainers showcase local wit, talent and irrepressible spirit
Sport
Members of the Scotland deleagtion walk past during the opening ceremony of the 2014 Commonwealth Games at Celtic Park in Glasgow on July 23, 2014.
PROMOTED VIDEO
Have you tried new the Independent Digital Edition apps?
Arts and Entertainment
The Tour de France peloton rides over a bridge on the Grinton Moor, Yorkshire, earlier this month
film
Life and Style
fashion Designs are part of feminist art project by a British student
News
Very tasty: Vladimir Putin dining alone, perhaps sensibly
news
Life and Style
Listen here: Apple EarPods offer an alternative
techAre custom, 3D printed earbuds the solution?
Arts and Entertainment
Top guns: Cole advised the makers of Second World War film Fury, starring Brad Pitt
filmLt-Col Steven Cole is the man Hollywood calls when it wants to borrow a tank or check a uniform
News
The University of California study monitored the reaction of 36 dogs
sciencePets' range of emotions revealed
News
Snoop Dogg pictured at The Hollywood Reporter Nominees' Night in February, 2013
people... says Snoop Dogg
Arts and Entertainment
A scene from Shakespeare in Love at the Noel Coward Theatre
theatreReview: Shakespeare in Love has moments of sheer stage poetry mixed with effervescent fun
News
Joining forces: young British men feature in an Isis video in which they urge Islamists in the West to join them in Iraq and Syria
newsWill the young Britons fighting in Syria be allowed to return home and resume their lives?
Arts and Entertainment
The nomination of 'The Wake' by Paul Kingsnorth has caused a stir
books
News
i100
Life and Style
food + drinkZebra meat is exotic and lean - but does it taste good?
Caption competition
Caption competition

Bleacher Report

Daily Quiz
Independent Dating
and  

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

Career Services

Day In a Page

Screwing your way to the top? Good for Lana Del Rey for helping kill that myth

Screwing your way to the top?

Good for Lana Del Rey for helping kill that myth, says Grace Dent
Will the young Britons fighting in Syria be allowed to return home and resume their lives?

Will Britons fighting in Syria be able to resume their lives?

Tony Blair's Terrorism Act 2006 has made it an offence to take part in military action abroad with a "political, ideological, religious or racial motive"
Beyoncé poses as Rosie the Riveter, the wartime poster girl who became a feminist pin-up

Beyoncé poses as Rosie the Riveter

The wartime poster girl became the ultimate American symbol of female empowerment
The quest to find the perfect pair of earphones: Are custom, 3D printed earbuds the solution?

The quest to find the perfect pair of earphones

Earphones don't fit properly, offer mediocre audio quality and can even be painful. So the quest to design the perfect pair is music to Seth Stevenson's ears
US Army's shooting star: Lt-Col Steven Cole is the man Hollywood calls when it wants to borrow a tank or check a military uniform

Meet the US Army's shooting star

Lt-Col Steven Cole is the man Hollywood calls when it wants to borrow a tank or check a military uniform
Climate change threatens to make the antarctic fur seal extinct

Take a good look while you can

How climate change could wipe out this seal
Should emergency hospital weddings be made easier for the terminally ill?

Farewell, my lovely

Should emergency hospital weddings be made easier?
Man Booker Prize 2014 longlist: Crowdfunded novel nominated for first time

Crowdfunded novel nominated for Booker Prize

Paul Kingsnorth's 'The Wake' is in contention for the prestigious award
Vladimir Putin employs a full-time food taster to ensure his meals aren't poisoned

Vladimir Putin employs a full-time food taster

John Walsh salutes those brave souls who have, throughout history, put their knives on the line
Tour de France effect brings Hollywood blockbusters to Yorkshire

Tour de France effect brings Hollywood blockbusters to Yorkshire

A $25m thriller starring Sam Worthington to be made in God's Own Country
Will The Minerva Project - the first 'elite' American university to be launched in a century - change the face of higher learning?

Will The Minerva Project change the face of higher learning?

The university has no lecture halls, no debating societies, no sports teams and no fraternities. Instead, the 33 students who have made the cut at Minerva, will travel the world and change the face of higher learning
The 10 best pedicure products

Feet treat: 10 best pedicure products

Bags packed and all prepped for holidays, but feet in a state? Get them flip-flop-ready with our pick of the items for a DIY treatment
Commonwealth Games 2014: Great Scots! Planes and pipers welcome in Glasgow's Games

Commonwealth Games 2014

Great Scots! Planes and pipers welcome in Glasgow's Games
Jack Pitt-Brooke: Manchester City and Patrick Vieira make the right stand on racism

Jack Pitt-Brooke

Manchester City and Patrick Vieira make the right stand on racism
How Terry Newton tragedy made iron men seek help to tackle their psychological demons

How Newton tragedy made iron men seek help to tackle their psychological demons

Over a hundred rugby league players have contacted clinic to deal with mental challenges of game