Fabio Capello: Where did it all go wrong?

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The Russian FA have terminated the £7million-a-year contract of Fabio Capello. The Italian's sacking means he leaves his second international job in three years, having resigned as England manager back in 2012.

His sacking by Russia completes a drastic decline for a man who was widely regarded as one of the best managers in the game a matter of years ago. When he took over as England manager he arrived with 16 major honours to his name. 

He'd enjoyed success with AC Milan, Roma and Real Madrid. The Italian had been named Serie A coach of the year five times. So where did it all go wrong for one of the games great managers?


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Capello had two spells in charge of Real Madrid. The first came in 1996, when he lasted just a single season. However, the campaign was a successful one.

Despite criticism of the style of football, Real Madrid beat Barcelona to the title. However, after falling out with the chairman and fan discontent, the club parted company with Capello.

His second spell was also successful, but again ended quickly. Despite ending a long trophy drought by sealing the La Liga title Capello was sacked by Real.

The club gave him his marching orders in June 2007, with the owners wanting a more free-flowing style of play than Capello's cautious, calculated football.


Capello became England's second foreign manager when he replaced Steve McClaren in December 2007. He took over a side that had failed to qualify for Euro 2008 but things started well for the Italian.

England impressed in World Cup qualification, losing just one game. England finished as the top European goalscorers in qualification. The upturn in form sparked real belief that the Three Lions could go all the way in South Africa.

The Capello Index

There was controversy in the build up to the World Cup. To this day the launch of the Capello Index is simply baffling.

The system devised by Capello, and backed by an online gaming company, would assess the performances of England's players and publish them online. Potentially publicly humiliating players, what could possibly go wrong?

World Cup disaster

Any hopes that England were going to win their first World Cup since 1966 were quickly dashed. Capello's team failed to hit the heights that they had in qualification. In the build up Capello had controversially stripped John Terry of the captaincy, another debatable decision.

England led in their opening game, until a Rob Green howler allowed the USA to equalise. They followed up that draw with another against Algeria. England were booed off after their 0-0 draw, one of their worst performances in recent memory. However they made the round of 16 by beating Slovenia 1-0.

As a consequence for finishing second they faced Germany in the first knock-out round. With the score 2-1 to Germany, Frank Lampard struck a sweet strike that hit the underside of the bar and bounced down over the line. Incredibly the officials missed it, much to Capello's frustration.

In the end England were dumped out 4-1, but there was still time for more strangeness. Having gone 4-1 down England needed a hero. Who better than the one and only Emile Heskey? Jermain Defoe was hauled off for the lumbering forward as Peter Crouch was ignored. A laughable summer was complete.

The End

As Euro 2012 qualification began Capello went back on his decision as he reinstated John Terry as England captain. Controversy ensued. It was this move that would eventually lead to his resignation. England went unbeaten as they sealed qualification for Euro 2012. However the FA stripped Terry of the captaincy and Capello resigned on February 8 2012.


Capello took over as manager of Russia following Euro 2012. Much like with England, qualification went well. He guided Russia to a top place finish in Group F, ensuring he would manage at his second World Cup. In January 2014 he signed a new contract that would keep him with Russia until the end of the 2018 World Cup.

Deja vu

It was a similar story for Capello at his second World Cup, though remarkably it went even worse than with England.

Russia drew two and lost one, meaning they crashed out at the group stage. Oh and Russian goalkeeper Igor Akinfeev did a 'Rob Green' for good measure. It was another World Cup disappointment for Capello. If only Heskey had been born in Russia, things might have been so different...


Russia started Euro 2016 qualification badly. A poor record of two wins, two draws and two losses piled the pressure on Capello. A 1-0 defeat to Austria sealed his fate. He was sacked on July 14 2015.


The Italian's reputation in the game has been seriously damaged following his two international failures. His demise has been the result of his own mistakes but also under-performing players that he's managed.

The weight of expectation and meddling nature of the FA made his time in charge of England doomed from the very beginning. He hardly helped himself with the Capello Index, but the reality is that such strict management was never going to work with the egos in the England squad.

There are also a number of what ifs with Capello. What if Rob Green had saved Dempsey's dribbler? What if Lampard's goal had been given? What if Akinfeev hadn't turned into a cheap Rob Green impersonator? Things might well have been different.

Capello has taken the wrong jobs at the wrong time. His pragmatic style of football would have been more acceptable in Italy than with Madrid, England and Russia. If he'd stayed in Italy back in 2006 instead of returning to Spain the events in his dramatic downward spiral could well have been avoided.

Football fans, do you still rate Capello as a manager? Let us know in the comments box below what you think of him.

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