Capello and England answer their critics in Zagreb
England and Fabio Capello emphatically answered their critics last night hammering Croatia 4-1 in Zagreb. The victory puts England on top of Group Six and will have gone a long way to burying the ghost of last November's defeat at Wembley.
Capello fielded an attacking side which saw Joe Cole and Theo Walcott forming a front three with Wayne Rooney. The decision paid off with the Arsenal teenager bagging a hat-trick and tormenting the ageing Croatian back four every time he touched the ball.
Apart from a shaky opening fifteen minutes, England controlled the game, starving the Croatians of possession and nullifying the threat posed by Luka Modric. Croatia's Plan B consisted of trying to physically impose themselves on England, but this backfired when Robert Kovac was given a straight red for elbowing Joe Cole.
Last November it was Steve Mc Claren who cut a lonely figure under the Wembley rain as he watched his side throw away qualification for Euro 2008. Last night it was Bilic's turn. The former West Ham defender had said that England had "nothing to surprise us". How wrong he was.