Belfast Telegraph

Thursday 31 July 2014

Fabio Capello basking in the luck of World Cup draw

England manager Fabio Capello

Fabio Capello will warn his England players not to be complacent after being inserted as odds-on favourites to reach the last 16 at the World Cup finals in South Africa next summer.

England were drawn in Group C with the USA, Slovenia and Algeria — in stark contrast to Brazil who will have to face Portugal, the Ivory Coast and North Korea.

Capello accepted that there are tougher groups than England's but recalled Italy's disastrous 1974 campaign, in which he played, when the Azzurri went out from a group they were expected to dominate.

Capello said: “There are other groups that are stronger than ours but I remember when I was a player in Germany sometimes you can think the group is easy and it will not be so.

“That is what I will tell the players, because psychologically the games you have to play in a World Cup are different to other games.

“I know from my experience as a player that when you play here the pressure is different and the mentality is different.”

The USA do have proven pedigree, having reached the final of the Confederations Cup in South Africa earlier this year, beating Spain on the way.

He added: “The USA are strong physically and technically they are good enough. I saw the game against Spain when they won and it will be no easy game.”

Slovenia were beaten 2-1 at Wembley in September but it was no pushover — as they proved by seeing off Russia in the play-offs.

“Slovenia's style is Balkan. They are technically good, a lot of passes and imagination.

“There will be no easy games. Algeria will also be confident after their exploits against Egypt when they played very well.

“I saw only some moments of the play-off games against Egypt. I saw the goals they scored but not too much to understand much about them. For me it's important to see a lot of videos of games they have played.”

England are likely to face Egypt in a friendly on March 3 as preparation for facing Algeria.

England will open their campaign against the USA on the evening of Saturday June 12, just down the road from their training base in Rustenburg. The next two games will involve some serious travelling for England fans, with the Algeria game almost 1,000 miles away in Cape Town on Friday June 18 and then Slovenia in Port Elizabeth on Wednesday June 23.

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