Capello challenges Russia to shock Brazil
LONDON (AFP) –
Fabio Capello has challenged his well-rested Russia players to showcase their quality by securing a surprise win over five-time world champions Brazil in Monday’s friendly in London.
Capello’s team saw their World Cup qualifier against Northern Ireland in Belfast postponed twice this weekend due to snow, giving them extra time off before facing Luiz Felipe Scolari’s Brazil at Chelsea‘s Stamford Bridge stadium on Monday.
Russia are unbeaten in seven games under former England coach Capello, while Scolari, back at Chelsea four years after being sacked as Blues boss, goes into his third game since returning to manage Brazil still waiting for his first victory following Thursday’s 2-2 draw against Italy.
Capello, linked with the Chelsea manager’s job earlier this month, is relishing the possibility of claiming an impressive scalp against the 2014 World Cup hosts and, speaking at a press conference on Sunday, he said: “I would like to beat them.
“It’s a friendly game and will be very important for me to note the value of some players that didn’t play games at the top level.
“I have some young players that will play tomorrow. It is a good test for us to improve.
“Our players trained really well yesterday and today. The team is good and fresh and not tired. They will be at 100 per cent.
“I watched Brazil’s game against Italy and it was a really interesting game and they suffered sometimes from counter-attacks.
“But I read they will play Thiago Silva tomorrow, one of the fastest defenders in the world, so they will not suffer from the same problems they did against Italy.
“When they get space they have really fast players who are really good technically. We need to be compact in every moment because if they find the space it will be really difficult to stop their counter attack.”
A new date for the qualifier with Northern Ireland has yet to be arranged but Capello was happy with the postponement because he believes it would have been dangerous to go ahead with the tie in such bad conditions.
“It was absolutely impossible to play because of the pitch,” he added.
“There was snow and the part without snow was really wet and the ball did not bounce.
“We wait on the meeting with FIFA but I am ready to play anytime, every moment.”
Roman Shirokov, who will take over the captain’s armband for the game with regular skipper Igor Denisov pulling up injured in training, was also pleased with the postponement and would like the game played in June.
“The conditions were unacceptable, it wasn’t possible to play so we took the news pretty calmly,” he said.
“We have to keep in mind they (the Northern Irish) are not used to this weather on a regular basis so we have to be a bit understanding.
“I am not quite sure why we are talking about playing the game in November as there are a couple of clashes with scheduled games for the Russian team.
“More likely it will be June or August and probably June would be the better option.
“Here the pitch is in a pretty good state so it will give us a chance to play a good game tomorrow and I expect our team to play well and get a win.”