Soccer: Capello offers to quit but blames knock-out blow on ref

By Ian Herbert

Fabio Capello will seek clarity about his future at a meeting with Club England chairman Sir Dave Richards today and is prepared to step down if England's defeat to Germany has convinced his employers that his position is untenable.

Capello does not want to quit his £4.8 million-a-year ($10 million) job after 2 years but said last night he wants to know "whether he [Sir Dave] has confidence in me or not".

The meeting is expected to take place at England's Royal Bafokeng base, where the 64-year-old chairman is expected to speak publicly about England's exit. Capello said nothing to the players in the dressing room last night, where he was said to be angry about the manner of the defeat.

The Football Association's decision before the World Cup to remove the break clause in Capello's contract, which enabled it to part company with him after the tournament, means it would be forced to pay out at least £10 million to terminate a deal that runs until the 2012 European Championships. Capello, though, will not stay if he is not wanted, meaning the FA may be about to begin the hunt for yet another leader; Fulham manager Roy Hodgson and Tottenham manager Harry Redknapp were yesterday installed as favourites to succeed Capello. Adrian Bevington, managing director of Club England, the group set up before the tournament to manage the national side, suggested Capello would be asked to continue his work.

"Our position has been consistent and it has not changed in my mind tonight, whatsoever. Clearly, Fabio needs to speak with Sir Dave and beyond that I cannot say anything further tonight," he said.

As the inquest began into England's heaviest defeat in any competitive tournament, Capello turned on the Uruguayan linesman Mauricio Espinosa's decision not to award a goal following Frank Lampard's lofted first-half shot, which dropped behind the German line by a margin that could be measured in feet rather than inches.

The decision was "incredible", Capello said. Even Manuel Neuer, the German keeper, joked that, "I knew it was tight - about two metres". Captain Steven Gerrard insisted England could not use the error as an excuse for losing. "For me to stand here and say that's the reason we got beat would be a lie," he said, although Capello said the linesman's decision was pivotal.

"The goal was very important," the manager insisted. "We could have played a different style ... We played with five referees and they cannot decide whether that it is a goal or not. That one goal would have made the game completely different."

Joe Cole was England's harshest critic, declaring England simply were not good enough and hinting at fundamental problems within the squad.

"We have to address the problems that are there ... We weren't good enough from the start of the friendlies, the six games we've played, so it is back to the drawing board."

- Independent

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