Capello unhappy with referee's red card mix-up
Fabio Capello launched a stinging attack on Slovenian referee Damir Skomina for the red card debacle that helped wreck England's 100% World Cup record.
Robert Green eventually became the first England goalkeeper to be dismissed for bringing down Artem Milevskiy, but only after a protracted debate which started when Skomina showed a red card to Rio Ferdinand.
It took the intervention of the fourth official to get the verdict right. However, the mere fact it happened raised doubt in Capello's mind that Skomina could have seen it clearly.
"It was a big mistake,'' said Capello. "Normally I don't speak about referees. This time I am changing my mind. Rio was running, the goalkeeper is diving. I need someone to explain to me how he can get that wrong.
"I spoke with the fourth official when the referee showed Rio the red card. He said he would tell the referee it was not Rio. The referee thought Rio had fouled the player but it so obviously was not him.''
Capello confronted Skomina at the final whistle, although by then he was also contemplating his first defeat in a competitive game as England coach. To the untrained eye, it looked a pretty dire display defensively at least.
Ferdinand's catalogue of recent mistakes continued when he allowed Milevskiy to charge straight through the centre of England's defence, the incident that left Green little alternative other than to make his fateful challenge.
Then Ashley Cole lost possession close to the penalty area and in his desperation to make amends, succeeded only in turning Serhiy Nazarenko's shot past David James. Given Glen Johnson was also shaky and skipper John Terry had his struggles as well, Capello might have been downhearted at the final whistle.
In fact, the Italian could only talk of his pride at such a battling 10-man display. "I am proud of my team,'' he said. "In the second half we played very well and created a lot of chances, right until the very last minute.''
Capello also had words of comfort for Ferdinand, whose form this season has been well below his usual high standards.
In addition to his Ukranian mishap, Ferdinand was also at fault for one of the Holland goals in August's 2-2 draw in Amsterdam, while he was left for dead by Craig Bellamy in the build-up to Manchester City's third equaliser during last month's pulsating derby clash at Old Trafford.
"He made one mistake, that is all, and that was for the penalty,'' said Capello. "The only other one was for the goal.'' Green will now be banned for Wednesday's encounter with Belarus at Wembley, although James was set for a recall anyway.
Other changes can be expected too, not least because Steven Gerrard is a doubt after being replaced by James Milner at half-time. "It is a little muscle problem in the groin,'' said Capello.
In contrast to England's dismay at defeat, Ukraine coach Alexiy Mykhaylychenko was delighted to gain a win that should see his country make November's play-offs at Croatia's expense.
A win in Andorra on Wednesday is still required, although that should be a formality. "I am really pleased to get this result,'' he said. "We still have a game to win but we have given ourselves the best possible chance.''