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England's New Confidence Comes From Capello
Independent, November 20th, 2008 11:31AM

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The withdrawal of so many first-choice players from both rosters had lead many to declare England's friendly in Germany on Wednesday as meaningless, writes James Lawton. But "there can be no such thing when England visit the gaunt old stadium where Hitler used to strut and pose."

Following World Cup qualifying wins in Croatia and Belarus, England's 2-1 win in Berlin showed that the team, even with a second-string selection, seems to have acquired "levels of confidence that would have seemed like some kind of fantasy this time last year." John Terry came back from his defensive error that allowed Germany to equalize by scoring the winner, Stewart Downing was "one of several Englishmen who seemed to grow a little more in composure, and stature, throughout the game," and Aston Villa's Gabriel Agbonlahor, gave "the encouraging picture of a young player of wounding pace and developing assurance."

All this proves that England coach Fabio Capello "is building into his charges a depth of belief in their ability to reimpose themselves on a game." Although the Germans were admittedly "wretched," Capello went to Germany "to develop work that brought such striking results in the early World Cup qualifying -- and he succeeded with the material available to him."

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