Fabio Capello knows England have come a long way since his first game in charge against Switzerland in February 2008 - tomorrow he will begin to find out exactly how far.
On their knees following the failure to reach UEFA EURO 2008, the Three Lions tackle the United States in their FIFA World Cup™ opener in Rustenburg with their coach believing it is time to start roaring again.
"We have improved a lot since Switzerland. We found the spirit and we have found a different way of playing each game. The players know me better and we have changed a lot. But it is different here. It is not one game. For this reason we have to be focused all the time. We have to understand what we have to do in each game," he said.
What England have to do is fairly simple. Victory against USA would put them in pole position to finish top of a group that also contains Algeria and Slovenia and therefore book a last-16 encounter in Rustenburg, where England are presently based and where they will face the United States.
I have decided on my goalkeeper and I know the 11 that will play Saturday.
Capello has already satisfied himself about a line-up which remains unknown to the wider world, and probably the players themselves. But he looks likely to include Robert Green in the problematic goalkeeping position.
"I have decided on my goalkeeper and I know the 1I that will play Saturday," he said.
The question remains whether Capello's mind was changed by Monday's first-half performance against the Platinum Stars. Seven members of England's predicted starting line-up were also in the team that began a 3-0 win that was only brought to life thanks to Wayne Rooney's efforts.
John Terry claimed afterwards that Capello had been more angry than at any stage of his tenure when he admonished his players at the interval, although it seems the Italian understands why England were so poor.
"I was annoyed with the first half on Monday because I did not see the right spirit on the pitch. But I understand why because the players had seen a lot of people get injured during this period of friendly games.
"For that reason we did not make tackles and we won the ball back too slowly. It was like a soft training session and I did not like this too much. But at our training camp, I saw everything that we need."