2010 FIFA World Cup: Fabio Capello's Big Decisions Fail To Pay Off for England

Sam RobertsCorrespondent IJune 14, 2010

RUSTENBURG, SOUTH AFRICA - JUNE 12:  Emile Heskeyof England stands for the national anthems prior to the 2010 FIFA World Cup South Africa Group C match between England and USA at the Royal Bafokeng Stadium on June 12, 2010 in Rustenburg, South Africa.  (Photo by Michael Regan/Getty Images)
Michael Regan/Getty Images

England coach Fabio Capello had two big choices to make as World Cup Group C Betting started when England faced USA in their opening match.

One was the tight battle for the goalkeeping spot and the second was who would partner Wayne Rooney up front. David James looked to be winning the race to start in goal, after being given the No. 1 shirt in the squad listings, only for Rob Green to swoop in and nick his spot.

With Group D betting 2010 World Cup pundits pointing out that the impressive Germany could meet England in the next round if they don’t win their group, these type of decisions need to be made again.

In 30 years time people won’t remember Green’s world class save in the second half, they will probably remember Green looking as though he was suffering from double vision as Clint Dempsey’s shot toddled on past him.

A few people will also remember the slow motion replay of Emile Heskey, picked ahead of Peter Crouch, as he was one-on-one with Tim Howard. The camera angle showed exactly how many choices the non-lethal striker had to score and give England the lead.

In painful slow-mo, we saw him skilfully place the ball precisely in Howard’s midriff. Not many were shocked by the effort. Heskey simply turned and jogged back up the pitch—to be fair, he must be used to the feeling. In Heskey’s defence, he showed why he was picked when setting up Steven Gerrard’s opener.

The problem is that most teams are going to try and crowd out star man Rooney, meaning whoever is partnering him up front has to score goals. Heskey is Rooney’s favoured partner, but Crouch has scored 21 goals in his 39 games; Heskey’s more modest return of 7 in his 59 caps is not enough if England want to have a realistic chance of success in South Africa.

While is can be argued that Green’s mistake was his first while in an England shirt and he should be given a second chance in England’s next match against Algeria, the argument for Heskey is growing quieter.