Fabio Capello greeted England’s 2-1 World Cup triumph over Ukraine last night with a double fist pump toward the London sky, according to Bloomberg.
John Terry gave England a fifth straight win in qualifying for soccer’s biggest tournament with a goal five minutes from the end at Wembley Stadium. Andriy Shevchenko scored 10 minutes earlier for Ukraine to cancel out Peter Crouch’s first-half opener for the host.
“When the referee whistled I was very happy,” Capello told reporters. “In the second half we suffered, definitely.”
The win leaves England atop Group 6 with a maximum 15 points, five more than second-placed Croatia. Third-ranked Ukraine, which has played one match fewer, has seven points. The top team from each of Europe’s nine qualifying pools advances to next year’s finals in South Africa, with the eight best runners- up playing off for the continent’s other four berths.
Crouch’s 30th-minute strike -- a close-range volley -- was all England had to show from a first half in which it dominated play. Capello blamed tiredness for the lack of sharpness that his team showed four days earlier in a 4-0 exhibition win over Slovakia.
“During this period of the season the players are not so fresh and lose passes when they had to play quickly,” the Italian said.
While Wayne Rooney, given a roaming role, was behind some of England’s brightest play, his failure to add to the two goals he scored against Slovakia led to frustration.
A lunge by the Manchester United striker at Oleksandr Aliev midway through the second half could have drawn a card from the referee, who instead waved for play to continue when television replays indicated a foul.
“We need this sometimes,” said Capello, who last week called Rooney a “crazy man.” “We need players with strong tackles.”
Shevchenko scored 19 minutes after coming on as a substitute. The former Chelsea striker, now back at AC Milan, reacted quickest to thrash the ball past England goalkeeper David James when a free kick ricocheted off defender Glen Johnson.
“Our plan was to keep Andriy on the bench until England tired and send him on the pitch to get the result we were hoping for,” Ukraine coach Oleksiy Mykhaylychenko said.
Shevchenko’s former teammate Terry undid Mykhaylychenko’s plan. The captain marked his 51st appearance for the national team with his sixth goal, getting the final touch when Steven Gerrard headed back a David Beckham free kick.
“This is the reason he’s the captain,” Capello said. “He’s an important player, a strong character.”
England, which has five more qualifiers to play, next faces Kazakhstan on June 6.