A loss against Wales could spell the end for Fabio Capello

A loss versus Wales will prove problematic for England manager Fabio CapelloThe build up to this match has not been easy for England manager Fabio Capello. England’s disappointing performance in the World Cup still hangs over the players and the manager, and Capello has to prove that his team are good enough to make an impression in the European Championship. On top of this, captaincy issues have once again surfaced; a problem that also beleaguered England’s World Cup campaign in the summer.

The prospect of an easy fixture should fill the England players with confidence. Statistically, England have had a far better run in, beating Bulgaria and Switzerland by comfortable margins and drawing to Montenegro. In contrast, Wales have failed to win any of their European qualifiers, loosing to Bulgaria, Switzerland, and Montenegro whilst only managing to score one goal to England’s seven. Although this is reassuring to most England fans, in reality, the pressure on the England players will be far greater, as the win is definitely expected of them. In a recent press conference, Terry has suggested that a “fear of not winning” may have caused their poor World Cup display, an issue which may well affect the players going into Saturday’s match.

Wales have also had their fare share of media attention with the young Welsh starlet Aaron Ramsey recently appointed as the youngest captain of Wales in history. The possible injury of left-winger Gareth Bale may also serve as a boost to the England camp. With these two factors in mind, Wales may look to prove a point against England, and with no-one expecting them to win, the players may well look to attack England from the off and pull the first punch of the match.

The controversy over the captaincy may have hindered England’s build up to the match, as John Terry has admitted the camp is divided. Terry, who lost the captaincy 13 months ago, has been re-instated, as both former captain Rio Ferdinand and vice-captain Steven Gerrard are unable to play due to injury. The decision to re-appoint Terry was prompted by the ‘pass the armband’ display during England’s win over Denmark. The decision has thought to have caused a split in the camp, with Capello admitting he is yet to speak with Ferdinand over the issue. Capello is seemingly not a man of many words as the conference in which Terry was stripped of his role as skipper only lasted 12 minutes. Many have been critical about Capello’s apparent lack of communication with the players, a problem that also caused unnecessary dispute over the exclusion of David Beckham from the team.

There is no doubt that historically, Capello is capable of taking a team to the heights of glory. However, football is played in the present, and a poor performance against Wales could question the whole nature of Capello’s management. On paper, the English players have the talent to win comfortably against Wales, and although a loss may not result in the instant dismissal of Capello, the long-term implications may well result in his undoing.

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