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Chris Hatherall - Capello needs to capture the spirit of 66

Published: 14 Jun 2010 - 12:57:40

If Fabio is looking for a novel way to inspire his players ahead of Friday's massive game against Algeria then I reckon I've got the answer: Send the boys for a pre-match lunch with Sir Geoff Hurst!

That's what I was lucky enough to do ahead of our miserable display against the USA in Rustenburg - and the 1966 legend proved to be a top man (if not exactly a lucky mascot on this occasion).

Sir Geoff is currently director of football in the UK for McDonald's and has been heading up a three-year scheme to coach football coaches in South Africa.

In fact he arrived in Rustenburg fresh from a visit to Rena Le Lona after-school community project in Johannesburg attended by children whose lives have been affected by HIV.

Over lunch he spoke movingly about meeting the kids, about donating a mini bus and the reaction he received. But when the conversation turned to football - as of course it did - what struck you most about him was just how much winning that trophy 44 years ago really meant to him .

If any of Fabio's boys, and especially Robert Green, are tempted to think being holed up in South Africa hiding in your room to avoid abusive headlines on the internet, is all getting too much then have a chat with a man who knows better.

"Winning a World Cup for your country is something incredible and the rewards are enormous," Hurst told me in between posing for photographs with a string of football fans at a Rustenburg shopping mall (he had salmon teppanyaki but the way, but ruined his GI diet with sticky toffee pudding to follow)

"The rewards are that for the rest of your life you will have fans coming up and telling you 'fantastic' and shaking your hand.

"The rewards are that you are suddenly recognised on a completely different level, not for what you've done for your club but what you've done for your country. And the rewards are that you will have a bond with 22 other players that will last for the rest of your life.

"I promise these guys, it's just amazing. The players don't quite understand that yet. But if they win it they will be aware of it for the rest of their lives. They must take this opportunity given to them"

If I had my way I'd send Geoff Hurst in to do Steven Gerrard's pre-match team talk in Cape Town on Friday but I suspect he wouldn't approve.

Back in 66 he says it wasn't the fashion to have tub-thumping motivational team talks. In fact Bobby Moore didn't say anything to his players before walking out to take on Germany.

"There were no speeches, that wasn't Bobby's way and it wasn't the manager's either. I don't think he even went round to talking to players individually, we just sat quietly and concentrated on what we had to do," said Hurst.

"It was the same on the pitch. Bobby led by example and the players followed. He was the most focused, professional and mentally strong person I have ever come across in my life.

"When I see all these team huddles and motivational speeches that seem to be the fashion these days I have to admit I cringe a bit. Let's just focus on what needs to be done, get our minds right and get out there"

Good advice. Over to you, Mr Capello...

CHRIS HATHERALL WILL BE BLOGGING FOR FOOTBALL.CO.UK FROM SOUTH AFRICA THROUGHOUT THE WORLD CUP

DSG


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FOOTBALL.CO.UK BLOGGER:Chris Hatherall
CHRIS HATHERALL has been covering football at the highest level - and Brentford - for 20 years. He has written for most UK newspapers and many overseas through the Hayters agency, and covers Premiership and Champions League football for publications in Japan, the Middle East and Ireland. He covers England at home and overseas, and this is his fourth World Cup where he hopes, once again, to see the trophy come back home.

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