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Former England boss says players are too tired to perform
Capello says too many league matches blunt England's cutting edge
Italian, now in charge of Russia, backs Brazil and Argentina to shine at World Cup
It might be Brazil. Argentina, perhaps. Maybe Spain will reign again. But it is highly likely it won’t be England who lift the World Cup in Rio this July, says their former boss Fabio Capello.
The 67-year-old, who is now manager of Russia, thinks his former charges will run out of puff this summer.
“It’s really important which physical condition the teams arrive at the World Cup,” Capello told CNN’s World Sport. “England are always tired because they play too many games.”
It’s not the first time Capello has asserted his belief that England’s international prospects could benefit from a pause in the long Premier League campaign.
“It’s like when you’re driving a car: if you stop halfway to put fuel in then you’ll definitely get where you want to go,” the Italian said last year.
Capello’ four-year England reign ended abruptly when he resigned in February 2012.
His tenure was marked by his poor grasp of English – he famously said in 2011 that he only needed a 100-word vocabulary to talk to his players – and overseeing a humiliating 4-1 defeat against Germany at the 2010 World Cup in South Africa.
Capello raged theatrically at his players from the touchline that day, but now reflects more soberly.
“When you win everything is perfect. When you lose, everything is wrong. This is the history of football. But we didn’t play really, really well. Also the big mistake from the referee,” he says, referring to Frank Lampard’s goal that never was as England tumbled out of the 2010 tournament.
The English media never holds back in its forensic analysis of England managers and Capello also faced criticism for the stifling security of the team’s training camp at Royal Bafokeng Sports Complex.
“The camp was perfect,” said the Italian in an answer to a question as to whether the criticism surrounding “Camp Capello” had been fair.
However, Capello is confident he has made the right choice for Russia’s base in the town of Itu – close to Sao Paulo – for the forthcoming World Cup.
“I went to Brazil looking for a camp and we are lucky because we were the second on their list where we stay now, after Germany.
“If Germany had chosen this place… but they changed because they built a new camp especially for Germany.
“We are really lucky because it’s one of the best camps in terms of location, distance from the airport, everything. We are really happy.”
Now the veteran coach is relishing the task at hand this coming June and further ahead to 2018 when Russia will host the World Cup for the first time.
“We are back in the World Cup after 12 years, the experience is really important for the players,” he says.
“The expectation for the World Cup in 2018 is really big. We need to build 12 new stadiums, infrastructure, everything. That will be a really big job.”
As it was with England, expectations in Russia are high for this year’s tournament, but who are the other teams Capello is backing to do well this summer?
“Brazil is my favorite team because I saw the games they played in the Confederations Cup,” he says.
“They improved a lot game after game and they are really strong. The quality is not the top like normal Brazilian players, but they are compact and they are really physically strong.
“After Brazil I think in terms of quality comes Argentina. Lionel Messi always makes the difference, as we just saw in the game Barcelona v Real Madrid.”
Capello also believes Jose Pekerman’s Colombia side or a Uruguay team spurred on by strikers Edison Cavani and Luis Suarez could pose a threat.
“After this in Europe it’s Spain, the World Cup champions. And Germany. Always! I don’t know why but they always (finish) in the first four.”