Who’d have thought it? A knighthood for Fabio Capello after England’s heroic comeback to win a second World Cup!
Maybe Sepp Blatter should get one as well. After all there’s no way England would have made it without Blatter’s review of rules and regs, culminating in the introduction of goal line technology just in time for the tournament.
Only the referee and his assistants failed to see that Frank Lampard’s shot had dropped a couple of feet over Germany’s goal line, but under the old system that would have been enough to deprive England of the goal that levelled the match.
Germany, for all the quality of their opening half hour, had squandered a two-goal lead. Their confidence collapsed, England’s soared. Suddenly there was a fluency and unity throughout the team and Wayne Rooney’s two goals in a 4-2 win were scant reward for England’s second half dominance.
And, amazingly, whereas video technology had come to England’s rescue against Germany, its limitations saved them in the quarter final against Argentina. Replays clearly showed that England’s winning goal owed a little to the head of Rooney and a little to the Hand of Wazza, but as the technology can only be used for goal line decisions it wasn’t available to the officials who awarded the dodgy goal.
Against Spain, England rode their luck again with David James immense in resisting the best that Torres, Iniesta and Villa could throw at him. To then save the crucial strike from Puyol as the shoot-out went to sudden-death was the stuff of dreams and it was sad indeed that in colliding with the goal post James suffered the shoulder injury that ruled him out of the Final against Brazil.
Step forward Joe Hart. In truth he had little to do as England controlled the game from start to finish but he must have felt for Julia Cesar. The Brazilian keeper was left stranded, straying too far off his line and scrambling back just too late to stop Rooney’s looping shot from dropping into the net.
It was the freak goal that broke Brazil’s brave resistance as James Milner and Aaron Lennon tormented their defence and Rooney helped himself to two more goals – enough for the Golden Boot and a place in history.
So now Capello can look forward to his date with royalty, where he has confirmed he will observe the usual courtesies.
“Of course I will kneel for the Queen,” he told reporters.
“But never for John Terry.”