Terry calling for one last English push
When John Terry stands in the centre of Wembley's home dressing-room shortly after 4.30 today, his message to his England players will be simple. "It's the last one, you know,'' Terry will say. "Leave nothing behind."
One final 90-minute outpouring of sweat, ideas and effort, and then the beach beckons. Until the final whistle signals a call to the departure lounge, England players cannot afford to be distracted. Fabio Capello's men must defeat Switzerland. They need one final push from Jack Wilshere, from Darren Bent, from Terry himself.
England are hardly overwhelming favourites to qualify from Group G because of Montenegro's threat, but the season has provided reasons to be cheerful after a summer of misery.
Capello appears to have learned from some of his South Africa mistakes, now acknowledging that the trip to Austria before the World Cup last year prevented the players revitalising tired legs and minds.
"If we qualify for the Euros, I want the players to go on holiday for a minimum of 10 days before rejoining the squad,'' said Capello. "I learned a lot from the World Cup.''
And Capello appears to have learned that 4-3-3 suits England. A system that certain players privately confided they craved at the World Cup, helped defeat Wales in Cardiff, giving England extra security in the centre, although it does not bring the best out of Wayne Rooney (who is suspended today anyway).
The English boss has also trusted more in some of his younger players, particularly Joe Hart, now established as England's No 1 after being ludicrously overlooked in South Africa.
Now only an hour and a half is needed today. One final push. England to win. (©Daily Telegraph, London)
England v Switzerland,
Live, ITV/Setanta Ireland, 4.45