Capello awaits fate as coach
By MIKE ZEISBERGER, QMI Agency
JOHANNESBURG -- Somewhere in the lush English countryside, flags are flapping at half-mast today, marking the nation's mourning of England's unacceptable performance at World Cup 2010.
And, much like those fluttering Union Jacks, manager Fabio Capello and his fate seem to be dangling in the breeze as well.
Capello, the man who suddenly has lost his ability to coach according to his various critics, is, if nothing else, a proud man. He knows the humiliating 4-1 loss to the arch-rivals Germans in Sunday has left a sour taste in the mouths of loyal English fans from London to Liverpool. And he desperately wants the opportunity for redemption.
But will he get it?
Like the rest of us, the stone-faced Italian will have to wait until next month to find out the answer. Less than 24 hours after the embarrassing Blowout in Bloemfontain, Capello met with Club England chairman David Richards Monday morning and informed him that yes, he wanted to remain England's manager.
We'll get back to you in two weeks, he was told. Many would translate that to mean: Don't let the door hit you in your Italian butt checks on the way out.
"I said I can be for next season the manager of England, but they have to decide." Capello said at a subsequent press conference.
Newly appointed Club England managing director Adrian Bevington was quick to do some nifty spin doctoring, insisting the delay in making a final call on the Capello's future should not be construed as an indication that he is toast.
"But it makes sense to go back to London and take stock of the situation and take a common sense decision rather than a knee-jerk reaction after what is a disappointing result," Bevington said.
So Capello sits. And waits. And, hopefully, doesn't read.
Because the natives aren't happy. And they are out for blood. Some want Capello's. Others are targeting the players. And let's not forget the faction that wants to string up Uruguayan assistant referee Mauricio Espinosa and his countryman, referee Jorge Larrionda, who somehow missed Frank Lampard's obvious goal that would have tied the game 2-2.
Whichever way you slice it, the knives are out. One glance at the English papers was evidence of that.
"Lampard Travesty fails to hide England defects" blared the headline in the Daily Telegraph.
"Awful England Have No Excuse," said the Daily Mail.
"You Let Your Country Down" delcared the front page of the British publication The Sun.
And on the back page?
"Time's Up Fab," obviously urging Capello to resign.
That's not going to happen. He's not leaving on his own. If they want him out, they will have to boot him out. And, with two years remaining on Capello's contract, he would have to be paid handsomely if they axe him.
There is no doubt that Capello's conservative tactics were frustrating to watch at times. If that is the reason for his dismissal, so be it.
But for those who are demanding that he be replaced by an English-born candidate and only an English-born candidate, we present to you two words: "Steve and McClaren."
Remember him? Remember Steve McClaren? He was a native of England who took over the team in 2006. Two years later, he was gone, having watched his team fail to qualify for Euro 2008.
Despite the public slagging, there is a growing belief that the decision will be for Capello to stay on. Indeed, many insiders feel the Club England hierarchy blames the players for the poor showing in South Africa. They have a point.
Wayne Rooney pulled a Jimmy Hoffa and fell off the face of the planet. Steven Gerrard was a shell of his former self. Lampard's only good game was the last one. And John Terry was a soap opera in cleats.
Against the younger Germans, they looked slow and unimaginative. And there's the problem.
When Capello looked across at German manager Joachim Loew on Sunday, he saw a man who had an excess of young talented kids at his disposal. Seven members of Germany's squad, including budding stars Mesut Ozil and two-goal scorer Thomas Mueller, played on the 2009 Euro under-21 championship team. They are good this time around. They will be scary good in 2014.
Capello, on the other hand, had no such youthful resources at his disposal. Only aging fossils. And no real promising youngsters on the horizon either.
Loew's contract is up at the end of this tournament. The Germans need to sign him pronto. When 21-year-old kids play at the ridiculously high level as these ones have for Loew, you want the coach and players to keep developing together.
It's a scenario Fabio Capello can only dream about.