It is obvious that England manager Fabio Capello has failed to get the best out of his players, especially after his team’s poor display in the Euro 2012 qualifier against an injury-stricken Montenegro.
Montenegro was missing its formidable stars in Marko Vucinic and Juvetic but still managed to pick a point from the Three Lions at Wembley. England’s next opponent in the qualifier will be Wales and with an inspired Craig Bellamy (Cardiff) and Gareth Bale of Tottenham Hotspurs, Capello’ men could be in for a shock.
With a host of top talents in the English Premier League, Capello has not managed to pick his best team. At the 2010 World Cup, he left out Arsenal winger Theo Walcott, who might have been a solution to beat many teams’ defences.
In South Africa, the Italian opted for names and established stars thus failing to field the best and hungry young players, who might have wanted to prove a thing or two at the biggest stage.
Capello may not have had the players to beat Germany at the World Cup, but he failed to perform well even at group stage which arguably makes him second only to Raymond Domenech in the wooden spoon stakes.
The Three Lions certainly put up an underwhelming display in South Africa, but seemed to lack coordination and game plan for most of its games and this is the fault of Capello.
Much has been said of the former AC Milan manager’s historically poor record in cup competitions, his Italian ways in the English game, being too disciplined for the liking of many squad members and his still-limited grasp of English.
What really makes a successful coach in such a unique environment, when the day to day training sessions bring together squad members in contention.
When you compare Capello and Joachim Loew of Germany, you notice a difference in terms of tactics. Loew came with youthful and little known players on the pitch but managed to snatch third place with the 20-year old Thomas Muller emerging the golden boot winner. Capello needs to bring this kind of achievement to the English people. Loew has continued his impressive performance at the euro 2012 qualifiers with the same players whereas Capello is falling out gradually.
Looking at other managers like Marcello Lippi, for all his 2010 weakness, he still garners great credit for his once in a lifetime achievement from 2006 World Cup. He did what he was supposed to do and is not the first manager to oversee great success followed by great failure.
What this year’s managerial failures have in common especially at national team level is an arguably counter-productive stubborn streak in their decision making not to mention a lack of trust in flair. Former Brazilian coach Dunga who was sacked after the World Cup carries those same traits.
The difference weighing in his favour is that he was quite simply managing the greatest football nation of all time. His pragmatism, iron fist and blinkered beliefs did not restrict him from picking a team capable of beating everyone effortlessly.
Like Joachim Loew, Bert van Marwijk is a similarly conservative presence in a skilful squad, yet a magnificent winning streak makes his position and philosophy indisputable.
The more liberal of the managers have yielded good results with Van Marwijk and Loew being chief among them, with the former still by no means having defied his critics, but still getting enough out of his star strikers to be genuine contenders for the title on their day, and the latter having groomed a young team playing a very specific and effective system.
Both men bond with their players, but it’s not all about being a cheerleader at international level.
Capello’s nature by no means makes him incapable of succeeding at international level.
His vast experience and advancing years do not necessarily put him out of touch nor does his great success hamper his motivation. His discipline in every sense of the word is another trait shared by many of international management’s success stories.
The language barrier preventing him from fully articulating his incredible football intellect has been an undeniable but not necessarily deal-breaking obstacle. Squad fatigue, while not the best excuse when comparing powerhouse to powerhouse, is a more realistic determining factor between bigger and smaller nations.