Skip to main content

On This Day in 2007 – Fabio Capello appointed England manager

Soccer – Fabio Capello Arrives – FA Headquarters
(Image credit: Rebecca Naden)

Fabio Capello was formally appointed as the manager of England on this day in 2007.

The vastly-experienced Italian succeeded Steve McClaren, who was sacked by the Football Association after failing to qualify for Euro 2008.

Capello, then 61, signed a four-and-a-half year deal worth a reported £6million a year.

The appointment of Capello, who enjoyed a glittering career in club football, was seen as a coup for the FA

The appointment of Capello, who enjoyed a glittering career in club football, was seen as a coup for the FA (Nick Potts/PA)

He led England to the 2010 World Cup in South Africa but he resigned abruptly in February 2012 amid tensions surrounding the FA’s decision to strip John Terry of the captaincy.

The multiple title-winning former AC Milan, Real Madrid, Roma and Juventus manager was just the second foreigner to take on the England post after Sven-Goran Eriksson.

His appointment was seen as a coup for the FA and it was hoped his no-nonsense style would be a good antidote to the more lenient regimes of Eriksson and McClaren.

England qualified for the 2010 World Cup in impressive fashion with two games to spare. Croatia, McClaren’s undoing in Euro 2008 qualifying, were swept aside 4-1 in Zagreb and 5-1 at home.

Capello got involved in a row with media at England's remote Rustenburg training base in 2010

Capello got involved in a row with media at England’s remote Rustenburg training base in 2010 (Owen Humphreys/PA)

But things unravelled in South Africa. The use of a remote training base at Rustenburg was not successful. Although it succeeded in removing the circus element that followed England at the 2006 World Cup in Germany, the general view was it went too far the other way and left players with little to do in their free time. Perceptions Capello’s methods were too stifling were not helped when he got into a public row with photographers over access.

Further controversy was created by the Capello Index, a commercial enterprise where the Italian rated the performance of players for a website. Rumours suggested it caused disquiet among the squad.

On the field England laboured to draws with the United States and Algeria before scraping into the knockout stage with a 1-0 win over Slovenia. They then crashed out with a 4-1 loss to Germany in the next round, although they had a legitimate gripe over a Frank Lampard ‘goal’ which was not given but replays showed clearly crossed the line.

Capello's hopes of guiding England to World Cup success in South Africa ended with defeat to Germany

Capello’s hopes of guiding England to World Cup success in South Africa ended with defeat to Germany (Owen Humphreys/PA)

England regrouped and qualified for Euro 2012 unbeaten but Capello did not make it to the tournament, standing down just days after criticising the FA for their stance over the Terry issue. The Chelsea defender had been removed as captain by the organisation pending a trial over alleged racial abuse of QPR’s Anton Ferdinand.

Capello was succeeded by Roy Hodgson. He went on to manage Russia and his most recent job was with Chinese Super League side Jiangsu Suning.