After Fabio Capello's England had qualified for the World Cup finals in South Africa with a record-breaking campaign to get there, confidence was high. Yet in the run-up to the finals, with injuries to key players, England were misfiring. Former England captain Gary Lineker had seen the team turn things round in the past, when the odds were against doing so, but even before the first game, he was worried. Capello's tactics looked wrong. Once the tournament got under way, there was a catastrophic error in the first match by Robert Green and then a massively disappointing draw against Algeria. By then there were reports of turmoil in the England camp, questions about the fitness of the players and problems with the tactics. A win against Slovenia gave hope that England might be improving, as they had done in Lineker's own time in 1986 and 1990. But this time, no changes were made and Germany inflicted on England their worst-ever defeat in the World Cup finals.
Lineker analyses not only why England fell so badly short in South Africa, despite having a squad of players who regularly perform so well for their clubs in the Premier League, but also answers the question of why it is that England continue to disappoint at the highest international level and what lessons we can learn not only from these experiences but also from other nations.