England's Italian manager, Fabio Capello, has guided England to 8 wins out of 8 in the 2010 World Cup qualifiers, 31 goals for, 5 against, and a maximum 24 points from those games.

England have qualified with ease, and with two games to spare.

Capello has now said that his dream would be for England to play Italy in the 2010 World Cup Final - and for England to beat them.

And Italians, who live in a country where football is almost the national religion, won't be pleased to hear Capello who, in 1973, scored Italy's winning goal in their first ever win against England at Wembley - say that he has always wanted to manage England, but has never fancied managing his native country.

One team who won't be joining the party in 2010 are Scotland, who again have failed to qualify for a major tournament. The last major tournament the Scots qualified for was the 1998 World Cup in France, where they failed to get past a group containing Brazil, Norway and Morocco.

And with cheating Diego Maradona's Argentina struggling, and looking likely to fail to qualify for a World Cup for the first time since 1970, who are the Scots now going to support at the tournament?

Fabio Capello: I want to beat Italy in World Cup final

By Paul Smith
The Sunday Mirror

Fabio Capello’s ultimate dream is to lead England to glory in next year’s World Cup – and beat his native Italy in the final.

2010 World Cup odds

Spain: 9/2 favs
Brazil: 5/1
England: 13/2
Argentina: 8/1
Germany: 11/1
Italy/Netherlands: 12/1
France/Russia: 25/1
Portugal/Ivory Coast: 33/1
Serbia: 50/1
Ghana/USA/Denmark/Chile: 66/1
South Africa: 80/1
Republic of Ireland: 100/1
Northern Ireland/Slovenia: 1000/1

The Italian sporting public are not impressed that one of their own is spearheading England’s challenge for success next summer.

Capello’s critics are bemused he has never shown the slightest interest in the Italy job.

Fans are even more horrified at the prospect of the 63-year-old putting his home country to the sword.

But talk of the ultimate act of betrayal doesn’t spark a flinch from Capello, who appears to have kicked patriotism into the nearest ditch.

He said: “I hope it will be an England v Italy World Cup Final – that would be the ultimate dream, that and winning the World Cup itself.”

Asked where his loyalties would lie if the two nations collided in South Africa, Capello made it clear: “I have the England shirt, I work here now.”

As if to add injury to Italian insult, he claims his prime objective when he came into management was to be the England manager one day.

Countries who have already qualified for the 2010 World Cup

South Africa (hosts)
North Korea
South Korea

He revealed: “It was never one of my objectives to be Italian team manager.

“My dream was to one day be here in England.

“I like the challenge. I always said I didn’t want to be Italian manager. I always knew this would be the big challenge of my managerial career. I never understood why it was impossible to do something here – because the players are good, the stadiums, the fans.

“I always liked it. You can smell and breathe the spirit here.”

The Capello effect is undoubtedly paying dividends for an England team that was in a state of despair when he succeeded Steve McClaren.

Wednesday’s crushing 5-1 victory over Croatia sealed England’s ticket to next summer’s World Cup finals and saw the country qualify for the World Cup with two games to spare following eight straight qualifying victories.

But Capello is refusing to get carried away by the euphoria.

He said: “The players and I must keep our feet on the floor – it’s a long way to the final.

“We have to go step by step, forget what we won before.

“We won eight games but it’s nothing, absolutely nothing.”

Despite Jermain Defoe’s great form, Capello has hinted his first-choice pairing is Wayne Rooney and Emile Heskey. Indeed, Heskey is so important, Capello is prepared to break his golden rule that a player must be playing regular football for his club to get into the World Cup squad.

He explained: “I hope Heskey will play for Aston Villa, not a lot of games, but maybe every other game. He is very important for the system we play.
“He’s crucial because of the movement, the pressing and winning back the

I’m not worried about his lack of goals – he opens doors and others finish.”