Capello claims win will liberate England
Jermain Defoe's first-half goal ensured England's progress to the knockout stages but with Landon Donovan scoring in the dying seconds of USA's game against Algeria, Capello's side will finish second in the group. That means old rivals Germany could await in the second round if they top Group D.
The win over Slovenia draws a line under a traumatic few days for England. Following a disappointing 0-0 draw against Algeria, Capello said his side were crippled by fear, and the unity of the camp was called into question when John Terry said in a press conference he would be challenging the manager's authority at a team inquest into the Algeria result.
But having quashed Terry's minor insurrection and overseen a vital victory, Capello is optimistic that England have put their troubles behind them and will show their best form in the remainder of the tournament.
"We played together, fight together and I am really, really happy for the result,'' Capello told BBC 1. "This was the team that I know.
"This team can go forward. All the team, the coaches, their mind is free. We can go forward without fear, without everything.
"I'm sure we will play more with confidence. We have found the spirit, the quality of the play was really good and we improved a lot physically. We ran a lot.
"I spoke with the players when we saw the first half against Algeria. We understood it was not a good way to go forward and during training it was very good, focused and fast.
"We found the physicality that we know usually. The players were the same that we see in the Premier League.''
"Yesterday evening they drank beer before the game. And I saw the team play with the spirit that we lost in the games we played before this game.
"The performance was really good and we created a lot of chances to score a second goal. This is the spirit that I remember when we played in the qualification games.
"I am really happy with the performance of the team. We played hard, we attacked the ball and this is important if we want to win.''
England saw Wayne Rooney substituted late on but Capello expects his attacking talisman to be fit for the second round.
"I substituted Wayne because his ankle was not so good, he has some problems," Capello said. Pressed on how serious the injury was, he added: "I don't know. I have to wait for the doctor but I think it will be okay for the next game on Sunday."
Captain Steven Gerrard also said that morale in the camp was much improved and backed England to improve as the tournament goes on under Capello.
"100% better,'' Gerrard said of the spirit in the team. "If we turn up and we play close to our potential we are a match for anyone.
"We thoroughly deserve to go through. I thought all the players that started the game and all the subs were terrific today. We need to find consistency now in the knock-out stages.
"I think if we play like we did today and keep listening to the manager and keep delivering what he's asking we've got the quality you need to win football matches, anything can happen."
One concern surrounds Wayne Rooney who has not been at his best in the World Cup. Gerrard expects the striker to open his account soon though.
"Wayne's had a bit of criticism over the last couple of games but today he worked his socks off and showed his quality,'' Gerrard said. "I know goals are around the corner for Wayne Rooney."
Rooney's partner Defoe was included in the starting line-up at the expense of Emile Heskey and delivered for Capello as his volleyed finish proved enough for England. The Tottenham striker, who did not travel to the 2006 World Cup, was delighted to have made the decisive impact.
"I'm lost for words to be honest," Defoe said. "What a moment. Everyone was focused before the game. We are through, that's the most important thing. The lads were fired up, in the first ten minutes we wanted to put them under pressure."