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France outclass Capello's England

France beat England 1-0 in Paris last night. The game illustrated the mountain that new manager Fabio Capello will have to climb if he wants to transform England into a side that can compete with the best teams in the world. Expect the 'end of the honeymoon for Capello' cliché to be bandied about ad infinitum.

Frank Ribery was the stand out player on the night and the Bayern Munich player slotted home a penalty after David James had brought down the impressive Nicolas Anelka in the first half. England were simply outplayed by a better team who didn't have to get out of first gear to win the match.

Capello looked pensive on the sidelines but later claimed that he was happy with the performance. 'We will be ready for the friendly against the Czech Republic on August 20. We made progress compared to the Switzerland game and I'm happy.'

The tabloids and the broadsheets have all claimed that Capello's designer glasses must have been rose tinted. But you can hardly expect him to come out and start criticizing all that is wrong with English football after only his second match in charge.

Beckham was completely ineffectual in his 100th game, John Terry was at fault for the penalty and Wes Brown was awful at right back. There really were few positives from the game from an England point of view. England don't have the players to compete technically with a team like France. The idea of a golden era of English players at the same skill level as Zidane is a myth.

There have always been skillful players like Bobby Charlton, Hoddle and Gazza in the England team but these players are not nurtured by English football.  English children still play on full size pitches with full size goals as opposed to the Futsal played in Europe which helps to develop close control and one touch passing.

But in the end last night's game was only a friendly. Capello and England should be judged on his record in competitive games starting in the Autumn. Who cares about beating France in a albeit prestigious friendly if you can't even qualify for Euro 2008.

France 1 England 0

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