Fabio Capello tactics

December 14, 2007

Strong defence has been the cornerstone of all Fabio Capello's winning teams.

And after England's shoddy performance at the back which cost them so dearly against Croatia last month it would be no surprise if caution is key early on for the national team's prospective new boss.

Wrongly derided as boring, Capello simply sees the need for his teams to defend as one.

At AC Milan, where he had full confidence in the solid and established back four of Paolo Maldini, Franco Baresi, Alessandro Costacurta and Mauro Tassotti, the football was breathtaking at times, not least when the Rossoneri dismantled Barcelona 4-0 to win the 1994 European Cup.

More recently, he succeeded in his mission to make Real Madrid leaner and meaner, although he was ultimately dismissed for being too prosaic.

The star-studded line-up had previously been easy on the eye with the likes of Zinedine Zidane, Ronaldo and David Beckham providing the `galactico' glitz, but at the back they leaked goals and Iker Casillas was just about the busiest goalkeeper in Spain prior to Capello's appointment.

The Italian brought in World Cup-winning Azzurri skipper Fabio Cannavaro and set up a two-man midfield shield in front of his back four, with three more attacking midfielders and a lone striker - usually Ruud van Nistelrooy.

This 4-2-3-1 system is one he may choose to adopt with England, certainly to start with. His first line-up could be: Robinson; Richards, Ferdinand, Terry, A Cole; Hargreaves, Barry; Gerrard, J Cole, Rooney; Owen.