The Horrors’ Faris Badwan is our World Cup columnist. In his third post of the competition, he laments the current England squad’s situation and casts his eye over the surprises of the tournament so far.
“My door is open, always,” were the words Fabio Capello used on Monday night in swift response to John Terry’s misguided attempt at honesty. The England manager, dressed in a red training shirt rather than his usual suit and tie, deflected criticisms that he is too “cold” with his players whilst simultaneously bursting the former captain’s inflated balloon.
Terry’s comments, though perhaps made for the benefit of England’s World Cup campaign were, at best, poorly judged. At worst they were disrespectful to his team-mates, particularly the new captain Steven Gerrard. Terry clearly still considers himself the true leader, describing his statement as “on behalf of the players” despite many of the squad subsequently distancing themselves from the manner of his actions. Essentially he seems to have got a little carried away.
Fabio Capello’s response to John Terry’s recent comments about the England squad
Whilst there is only one captain’s armband, most people would agree that every good team needs more than one leader. Unity is also helpful, to put it mildly. Unsolicited public statements rarely have any positive impact.
Perhaps, as some have suggested, Terry was attempting to publicly reassert his status, but I’m more inclined to consider his actions closer to those of a man lacking in foresight. His thoughts were not of those around him, but only of the past occasions at club level where, as Avram Grant, “Phil” Scolari and Carlo Ancelotti will testify, poor results prompted “no-holds-barred” discussions between players and coaching staff. Of the three, only Ancelotti ultimately managed to weather the storm and turn fortunes around – not to mention keep his job.
There are positive signs that Capello will emulate his fellow countryman. He has dealt with the situation well, appeasing the squad with a few minor concessions and firmly reminding his first choice centre back who is in charge. Whether he bows to increasing pressure and adapts his formation and line-up remains to be seen. Today’s match against Slovenia is England’s last chance to save their World Cup, but really you would hope that either a 4-5-1 or a 4-4-2 would be enough to win when it matters most.
There is no reason for England fans to act as rashly as JT, burying their Three Lions replica kits in the garden (tailored for England – whose idea was that exactly?) and switching allegiance to one of the South American teams. It has been a World Cup of upsets so far – Italy are in a remarkably similar position to England with goalkeeping issues, underperforming big names, two draws with two supposedly inferior teams, and needing nothing less than a win against Slov…akia to progress. Germany have missed their first World Cup penalty since 1982(!). Spain have stuttered, France have imploded.
Along with Brazil, Argentina are one of the few teams for whom the group games have been relatively straightforward. So in an exclusive interview, I called up my good friend Lionel Messi and asked him what has made his World Cup run so smoothly*. His response was somewhat unexpected…
“On the plane on the way to the World Cup Carlitos (Tevez) made me listen to Oasis’s first two albums. I have to say I wasn’t expecting much but it is some of the best material I have ever heard. They are absolutely amazing. Their songs are incredible. I would have to say ‘Supersonic’ and ‘Live Forever’ are my favourites. I have been listening to their stuff in my hotel room, on the way to matches and in the dressing room.
“I’ve been watching their live performances on YouTube and they look like they’d be amazing to see in concert. I asked Carlitos if we could go and see them in Manchester or London but he told me they have split up. We have agreed that if we win the World Cup, we want to fly them over to Argentina for our celebration party. We just need them to name their price.”
So there you have it…
(*Ahem, or read this news story)
Check back throughout the World Cup for match reports and analysis from Faris