A Frank Lampard penalty and a second-half strike from substitute Ashley Young saved England's blushes after two first-half goals goals in three minutes from Swiss midfielder Tranquillo Barnetta gave Ottmar Hitzfeld's side a 2-0 lead.
But while England may take a crumb of satisfaction at having gained a draw which leaves them one point clear of rivals Montenegro at the top of Group G, who play Bulgaria later today, Capello will be dismayed by a poor display.
Two bad mistakes by England gifted Switzerland their goals, and in the second half, when the home side dominated, Capello's men were unable to find the winner having clawed the game back to 2-2 after 51 minutes.
Striker Darren Bent prompted howls of disbelief when he missed an open goal from eight yards on 71 minutes that would almost certainly have sealed a vital three points for England.
Capello had encouraged his players to take holidays following the end of the Premier League season two weeks ago, and in a disastrous three-minute spell midway through the first half England looked as if they were still on the beach.
However, Capello evidently believed that they hadn't taken his advice to go on a break. "The difference between the two sides was that we lacked energy, always the same problem," he said.
"The Swiss were fresher. However, we ended up with a good result, I got a good reaction from the players in the second half but as always at this stage of the season we were without energy."
Capello swatted away a question that if they were tired now what would they be like in terms of energy levels were they to qualify for EURO 2012, which will take place next June. "Let's qualify first and then we will see," he said.
Barnetta double shocks home side
Hart was at fault for both of Barnetta's goals on 32 and 35 minutes, which both came from free-kicks out on the left. The first came when Barnetta swung in a hopeful set-piece that eluded everyone in the box and bounced past Hart to make it 1-0.
It got worse three minutes later. This time the Bayer Leverkusen midfielder drilled his shot towards the near post, and when England's two-man wall of Theo Walcott and James Milner parted, Barnetta's shot squeezed past Hart.
The disgust of England captain John Terry was evident but crucially the home side were able to conjure an immediate response, Jack Wilshere surging into the penalty area only to be brought down by Arsenal team-mate Johan Djourou. Lampard stepped up to blast in the spot-kick and England had been given a vital lifeline.
With Young replacing Lampard at half-time, Capello had clearly decided England needed more pace in attack and the home side threatened within seconds of the restart, when Walcott burst forward only to be brought down by Djourou. England appealed for a penalty but referee Damir Skomina was unimpressed.
Young levels score
Yet England did not have long to wait before they were level. Milner clipped a cross to Leighton Baines, on for the injured Ashley Cole, who chested into the path of Young for the Aston Villa forward to drive home.
The momentum clearly with England, it looked only a matter of time before Capello's men took the lead. A lovely run and pass from Wilshere released Bent on 65 minutes but the striker took too long to get his shot away and Swiss goalkeeper Diego Benaglio cleared.
Then on 69 minutes Walcott sliced open the Swiss defence and squared for Young, who scooped his shot over the bar. But the most glaring miss came two minutes later, and Bent was again the culprit.
Young went on a mazy solo run and shot to test Benaglio, whose save fell invitingly into Bent's path. Yet with an open goal awaiting Bent somehow managed to shoot over the bar. The last chance fell to Villa team-mate Stewart Downing in stoppage time, but the winger sent his shot wide from a narrow angle and England had to settle for a point.