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England's 2010 World Cup qualification campaign - Delight and disappointment

As England prepare for their 2014 FIFA World Cup qualifying campaign, English football fans should remember the high-expectant build-up, and eventual heartbreak of the 2010 World Cup.

On 14 January 2008, the fixture list for the 2010 World Cup qualifiers was announced in Zagreb, Croatia.

Just under nine months later, Fabio Capello’s England began their adventure with a 2-0 away win in Andorra thanks to a brace from Joe Cole.

After the first successful win, England surged towards the World Cup in South Africa.

Teenage winger Theo Walcott scored his first goals for England with a hat-trick against Croatia, as Capello’s side won impressively 4-1.

Wayne Rooney was dependant on England’s chances in qualifying for the tournament. He scored nine times in the ten matches.

Routine victories

Next up was a routine 5-1 win at home to Kazakhstan, with Rooney, Rio Ferdinand and Jermain Defoe all finding the net at Wembley.

A Steven Gerrard double in Belarus made it four wins from four as 2008 reached its conclusion.

2009 started with a struggle, as Ukraine came to Wembley and gave England a tough encounter.

Only a late goal from John Terry kept the 100 per cent record going, as England triumphed 2-1. 

Five wins became seven, after routine triumphs over Kazakhstan and Andorra.

A 4-0 away win in Kazakhstan saw Gareth Barry, Emile Heskey, Rooney and Frank Lampard find the target.

This was followed by a 6-0 thumping of Andorra, where Peter Crouch and Lampard were amongst the scorers.

Both Lampard and Crouch were very influential, as they scored four goals each during the campaign.

Crouch and Lampard scored one goal each in the 6-0 victory over Andorra at Wembley, shortly followed by a 5-1 win against Croatia, with Lampard scoring twice.

England stacked up an impressive 34 goals in Group 6, nine of them came from the two games against Kazakhstan.

Qualification sealed in style

Qualification was sealed in style, as Lampard scored twice in a 5-1 demolition of Croatia at Wembley.

The away meeting to Ukraine did see the Three Lions lose 1-0 at the Dnipro Arena, as Nazarenko scored the only goal of the game and Robert Green saw red.

However, the final Group 6 game saw Capello’s side triumph again as Crouch (2) and Shaun Wright-Phillips scored against Belarus to send a confident team into the 2010 FIFA World Cup.

In total, England won nine games from ten, chalking up an impressive 34 goals in the process. 

A nightmare for Green in Rustenberg

When the groups were announced for the World Cup, England were as confident as ever, facing the USA in their first Group C match near their training base of Rustenberg.

It was a game England fans may never forget, as Gerrard sent the country into raptures, scoring inside four minutes.

However, Green will want to forget this match in a hurry, when he mishandled Clint Dempsey's weak shot and ball squirmed into England's net. 

Green couldn’t have wished for a worse start.  The game finished 1-1 and he was dropped for the next game against Algeria. David James was given a start between the sticks.

Despite Algeria only having one shot on goal, the game ended a depressing 0-0. As ITV commentator Clive Tydlesey said: "World Cup contenders...not on this form."

Progression sealed

England had to beat Slovenia to guarantee progression in the tournament and they did just that. Defoe scored the only goal of the game at the Nelson Mandela Bay Stadium in Port Elizabeth.

Having finished behind the Americans on goals scored, England progressed as runners-up of Group C and this meant, another famous meeting with bitter rivals Germany in the last 16. 

All the hype, all the confidence and all the effort would need to go into this game in order to progress into the quarter-finals in Cape Town.

The Germans looked strong and England were hopeful but after a cagey opening 20 minutes, Miroslav Klose gave the Germans the lead with a basic long ball goal.

A terrible decision

Things went from bad to worse for Capello’s men as 12 minutes later, Lukas Podolski doubled Germany's lead.

A goal before half-time for England looked impossible but it was required. Matthew Upson headed in Gerrard’s cross just before the interval to give the nation hope.

Moments later, Lampard's shot hit the crossbar and appeared to have crossed the line but it wasn't given by Uruguayan referee Jorge Larrionda.

Television replays revealed England had been robbed by a terrible decision and a lack of goal-line technology.

Subsequently, the second half saw Thomas Muller score twice to knockout England, following a resounding 4-1 victory.

Installing the winning mentality again

Capello’s journey was over despite such a successful qualification campaign.  Ultimately, the final tournament had been a huge disappointment.

England will be hoping to install some of the winning mentality into their qualification campaign for the 2014 World Cup in Brazil.

Roy Hodgson will hope to lead England into the finals from Group H, against opponents Montenegro, Ukraine, Poland, Moldova and San Marino.

Hodgson has so far got an unbeaten record as England manager, following five wins and two draws from seven games in charge.  Will he prosper in qualifying like Capello did?

By Josh Harris

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