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The teams will prepare for the matches in a different mood. For Ukraine, everything is going according to the plan of its head coach Oleh Blokhin, who will summon the players on February 27 to the training base in Koncha-Zaspa. The Ukrainian coach has to deal with the fact that several of the team’s key players – Dmytro Chyhyrynskiy, Andriy Shevchenko and Taras Mykhalyk – are on the injured reserve list and try to get the team back into playing form shape after long winter training. Meanwhile, the team of England is going through stress due to the sudden resignation of its head coach Fabio Capello on February 8. The reason for his resignation was disagreement with the decision of the leadership of the English Football Association to take away England’s captain title from defender John Terry, who was accused of racism.
Terry was accused of insulting dark-skinned Queens Park Rangers’ defender Anton Ferdinand during a match of the English League championship between Chelsea and QPR. An investigation was conducted and a court hearing was scheduled for July 9 after EURO 2012.
However, without waiting for the court’s ruling EFA President David Berstein decided that Terry could not be the captain of the national team. Capello decided the association insulted him as the head coach and publicly disagreed with the EFA decision. After holding failed talks with EFA management Capello resigned.
Stuart Pearce, head coach of the England U-20 and Olympic teams that will compete in the London Summer Olympic Games 2012, was appointed acting head coach of the England national team. Pearce will lead the team in a friendly against the Netherlands on February 20 at Wembley Stadium in London.
However, all English football fans understand that Pearce will unlikely work with the national team during EURO 2012. The list of the most wanted successors of Capello includes Harry Redknapp, who successfully works for Tottenham and Dutchman Gus Hiddinck and Frenchman Arsen Venger. The press is also discussing the options of Roy Hodgson and Jose Mourinho.
In any case, replacement of England’s head coach four months prior to the European championship seriously reduces the chances of the team’s success. Meanwhile, England has been considered by many to be a favorite at EURO 2012 because Fabio Capello has brought together a solid bunch of players to create a well-balanced team in terms of experience and youth. Over nearly four years Capello showed impressive results as the team’s coach: it won 2/3 of its matches (Out of 41 matches it earned 27 wins, 8 draws and only 6 losses.
Now the new coach might begin shuffling the make up of the team and introduce a new style of play. In addition to that, the psychological aura inside the team has been damaged. One can also imagine the moods of Terry and his midfield partner Rio Ferdinand, the brother of Anton Ferdinand, whom Terry allegedly insulted. The players who worked with Capello will have to get used to the requirements of a new coach. All this could negatively affect the team’s performance. Former England’s captain Alan Shearer directly said Capello’s resignation robbed England of its chances for winning EURO 2012.
Oleh Blokhin refused to comment on how Capello’s resignation could affect England at EURO 2012, including in its match against Ukraine on June 19 in Donetsk. “These are problems of England. We will prepare and train according to plan,” said the coach of the Ukrainian team. As a reminder, Ukraine has a positive experience against England: on October 9, 2009 in Dnipropetrovsk, Ukraine beat England, then trained by Capello, 1:0 in the final match of the preliminaries to the World Cup 2010.
The EFA management promised to decide on the new head coach by the end of April. No matter who he is, there will be very little time and possibilities for some changes. Before the start of EURO 2012, in which England will play against France, Sweden and Ukraine, the team will only play three friendly matches.Printable version