England win leaves Capello questioning
BARCELONA (Reuters) - England's 2-0 win over Andorra in their opening World Cup qualifier on Saturday left coach Fabio Capello with more questions than answers before their next match against Croatia on Wednesday.
Capello said after their opening match in Group Six he had not decided whether Joe Cole, who came on as a second half substitute and scored both goals, would start against Croatia, who beat England home and away in the Euro 2008 qualifiers.
He also said that Cole and Wayne Rooney did not understand his tactics during the second half against Andorra, ranked 186th in the FIFA world rankings but good enough to frustrate England for 49 minutes at the Olympic Stadium on Saturday night.
Cole, who has not started any of England's last four matches, could again be left out of the starting lineup on Wednesday, one of the most important games for both sides in the qualifying campaign.
Capello became agitated with the midfielder during the second half and explained afterwards he was still pondering his options for Wednesday.
"Yes, I have got to think about Joe. He is in a very good moment for himself and scoring goals, but I have to decide what the first 11 will be against Croatia," he told a news conference.
"It will be another game and it will a different sort of game. I would like it if Croatia played like Andorra, but they won't they will come out looking for goals.
"But against Andorra there were problems with the understanding of tactics. When we started the second half, Wayne Rooney and Joe played near Emile Heskey.
"But when we went 2-0 up, they both then started to come back into midfield. I was asking them to go forward again because Heskey was all on his own. That is what I was trying to transmit to them, but it was difficult because they were too far away."
Cole told reporters he was only following Capello's instructions: "He said 'just go out there and try and make something happen'. I think the game needed a bit of a spark and a bit of liveliness.'
"They did make it difficult for us. I know it's a football cliche, but they put 10 men behind the ball and stopped us playing. But we still didn't move the ball as well as we'd like to have done. The confidence of the team was a bit low, but in the end we got the job done."
Capello gave teenager Theo Walcott his first start but after making a big impact in the opening few minutes, his influence faded as the match wore on.
David Beckham began the match on the bench before coming on in the 80th minute to win his 104th cap and Capello is likely to go for Beckham's experience against Croatia from the start on Wednesday.
Croatia beat England 2-0 in Zagreb in October 2006 and followed that up with a 3-2 win at Wembley last November which ended England's hopes of qualifying for Euro 2008 and signalled the end of Steve McClaren's brief reign as England manager.
Capello took over at the start of this year and Saturday's match was his first competitive game after five friendlies.
England have now played six matches under the Italian and although they have won four of them, they have rarely looked much better than they did when McClaren was in charge.
Seventeeen months ago McClaren's England were similarly frustrated by the Andorrans, who then held goalless until the 54th minute before winning 3-0. This time England were held goalless until the 49th minute before winning 2-0, but it was a far from convincing display.
Andorra's manager David Rodrigo also could not resist a little dig in England's direction afterwards, claiming that by losing only 2-0 his side were the moral winners on the night.
"If I had been in charge of England and Mr Capello had been in charge of Andorra I think I would have won by a far bigger margin," he told reporters after the game. "The scoreboard showed we lost 2-0, but we were the moral winners."
(Editing by John Mehaffey)
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