In a post-match press conference following England's international clash with Montenegro to secure the single point needed to qualify for the Euro 2012, England boss Fabio Capello spoke about the Wayne Rooney red card that casted a shadow on the entire celebration.
After earning an early 2-0 lead in the first half, the visiting England side conceded a goal in first-period injury time to allow Montenegro to cut the lead in half. Still, they looked set to cruise in to an easy three points in an uneventful second half, until Wayne Rooney was issued a straight red card in the 73rd minute for kicking out at Montenegro defender Miodrag Dzudovic.
While England still achieved the moral victory of earning the draw and qualifying for the Euro tournament, the incident was instrumental in Montenegro's last-minute goal against ten-man England to salvage a point at home and rob the visitors of outright victory.
The incident also means that the most prolific goal-scorer on the England team will miss the first match of the tournament's group stage, if not more.
"Our goal was to qualify," said Capello following the match. "It was the most important thing."
Despite the success in achieving that goal, the impact of Rooney's red card was not lost on Capello.
"He made a silly mistake when he kicked the opponent," Capello said of the decision. "He was not happy because he missed some controls and missed some passes, and for this reason I think the reaction that came was to kick the opponents."
Capello shied away from from placing blame on Rooney for the incident that could yet prove to have a profound impact on his side's Euro campaign in the summer of 2012, saying:
"He's got a lot of experience, he's played really important games, and he made a mistake. What can you do? I've seen sometimes really important players making the same mistake. In that moment, you can't understand the 'why,' but they make mistakes."
The highly anticipated Euro 2012 kicks off on June 8th, with Rooney expected to serve his suspension during the opening rounds of the group stage.