All too predictably, almost every national newspaper is calling for Fabio Capello’s resignation following England’s disappointing 2-2 draw with Switzerland at Wembley, despite the result ultimately proving fairly irrelevant.
The Three Lions’ main Euro 2012 qualifying Group G rivals Montenegro were held 1-1 by Bulgaria, in the process conceding their first goal of the campaign, leaving things as they were at the top, with England controlling their own destiny.
Additional proof that Saturday’s result hasn’t severely impacted on their chances of making it to Poland and Ukraine or being successful there is provided by the fact that Capello’s side remain 8/1 fourth favourites for the trophy.
While the Italian tactician may have blundered in picking James Milner and Theo Walcott over in-form Stewart Downing and Ashley Young, it was ultimately Darren Bent‘s failure to take his chances that stood between England and victory.
Capello attracted further criticism for suggesting after the game that tiredness had been a factor, an argument supported by the statistic that the England’s starters played an average of 15 matches more than Switzerland’s this season.
Yet as valid as the under-pressure manager’s claims were, they will prompt questions as to how the Three Lions can seriously be expected to compete next summer if they can’t handle one post-season encounter this time around.
While Capello can do no right with the English media right now, Republic of Ireland coach Giovanni Trapattoni’s stock rises with every fixture. He maintained his remarkable unbeaten record in away qualifiers with a 2-0 victory in Macedonia.
Record breaker Robbie Keane struck twice in the Boys in Green’s third straight win to nil to ensure that they stay level with Russia and Slovakia in first place.
With a place in the tournament looking an increasingly realistic target, Trapattoni’s team can be backed at 100/1 to triumph in eastern Europe next year.