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The most powerful American in world soccer

ESPN FC & Howler
By ESPN Staff

Capello upbeat despite sloppy England showing

Fabio Capello attempted to put England's last-gasp draw against the Czech Republic into a positive light but admitted the performance left him with doubts ahead of next month's World Cup qualifying campaign.

The England boss said: 'I think this night we took another step, I'm happy I saw things I have doubts about. I think we are ready for the next game.'

England face Andorra and Croatia next month and an improvement will be expected if they are to get a result in Zagreb against their main rivals on the road to South Africa.

Capello admits his side are struggling against counter-attacking teams.

He said: 'I'm happy with the draw because the reaction of the team to the last minute was important and good.

'I think also in the first half we played good football with style. We created a lot of chances to score goals and the team played together better with different style.

'Only one thing I didn't like in the first half - sometimes when the Czechs countered we suffered. This is a problem and we have to do something about the problem.

'In the second half we lost the style and position, and the Czechs are a very good team. I asked to play against them for this reason - to see where the problems are. They are not easy to beat. When a team plays the counter attack it is not easy to score a goal.'

Capello defended his decision not to play Steven Gerrard in central midfield, which was criticised by Portsmouth boss Harry Redknapp who was working as a television pundit.

'He did not play left, so you have to explain that,' Capello said. 'We played 4-3-2-1; (Jermain) Defoe, Gerrard and (Wayne) Rooney, then three midfielders.

'In that position you have to play between the lines of the full-backs and midfield. I decided before the games that Rooney and Gerrard, they had only played one game, will play this for an hour.'

Cole also felt the result is something to build on.

Cole told Setanta Sports 1: 'It was a difficult night, playing against a good team early on in the season and most of us played on Sunday.

'It was a tough game but we got a good draw against a good side but we are disappointed not to have won.

'But we haven't been beaten. We are building our confidence and getting stronger.'

New England captain John Terry was not satisfied with the result or the performance, but felt the players must focus on getting things right for the World Cup qualifying campaign.

'I think overall we expected more from the game but there are some positives and some negatives and we will sit down and analyse them,' Terry said.

'Maybe we should have won the game with the team we had there tonight - and now there are two weeks to go to reassess the game before the qualifying game against Andorra.

'Hopefully we can build on that and take the positives but things (under Capello) will take time to get right.

'The crowd were frustrated and the players fully understand that and we know we have to put on a better show.

'It is important to do that when the business of the qualifying campaign begins and we are keen to make up for what happened last time.'

Czech boss Petr Rada felt his side threw away a golden opportunity to record a famous win at Wembley.

'For us it was a very difficult match, against Capello we knew this,' he said. 'We went into the match with the idea to survive which we managed by keeping the ball in midfield and attacking from the breaks.

'I think we were controlling the game in the second half. At 2-1 we had a big chance to score again and if he scored we probably would have been winners of this match.

'England are a very strong team and they showed that with their late goal, but it is not very often you draw against England. We were very near to winning but it was still a good draw.'


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