Thursday, August 21, 2008


So, England scrape a draw against the Czech Republic, and now the papers are full of every pundit slating the team. The lustre is clearly off the 'new dawn' of the Fabio Capello era, and he'll be on his way soon enough.

Um, what?

Here's the thing: friendlies don't count. Occasionally, maybe, you'll get a friendy played in a truly competitive spirit, just before a major tournament where one manager needs to keep his team in fighting trim. But just after a major tournament, at the start of a new season, where no-one much cares beyond avoiding injury? Yeah, not so much.

The time to start thinking about judging Capello's performance so far is after the Andorra match. And, probably more tellingly, after the Croatia match. If he gets four points from those, he's doing very well indeed. (Croatia are a very good team - it wasn't a fluke that they beat England home and away last time out.)

Oh, and as for Scotland's performance against Northern Ireland? Um, yeah, friendlies don't count. I hope.

No comments: