By Joe Wright
The Italian feels Monday’s friendly match with the five-time world champions will be an important benchmark for Russia, particularly for the younger players involved
Following their 2-2 draw with Italy last week, the World Cup hosts travel to Stamford Bridge to face a side currently four points clear at the top of their qualifying group, and Capello feels the five-time world champions will provide an important yardstick to measure the current progress of his team.
“I think there will be no problems because we trained really well yesterday and today, we are in good form and we are fresh. I think tomorrow we will be at 100 per cent,” he told a press conference.
“It’s not an official game, but it will be really important for me to know our value, especially of some of the young players who haven’t played at the top level but will play tomorrow. It’s a good test for us to improve.
“I watched the Italy game on TV. It was a really interesting game. They [Brazil] suffered sometimes on the counter-attack against Italy, but tomorrow I read they will play Thiago Silva. He’s one of the fastest defenders in the world, and so they probably won’t have the same problems they had against Italy.
“I saw the Brazilian forwards on the counter-attack are very fast and good technically. We need to be compact in every moment, because if they find the space they will be very difficult to stop.”
Russia were due to face Northern Ireland in their latest qualifying match on Friday, but the game was twice postponed due to the severe weather conditions currently affecting the British Isles.
Roman Shirokov had earlier stated his concerns that the match could clash with the Russian domestic league if rescheduled for the autumn, but Capello does not believe there is an advantage to be gained either way.
“It was absolutely impossible to play on that pitch because of the snow, and without snow it was really really wet,” he continued. “I’m ready to play every time, at every moment.
“For this game, Northern Ireland had two really important players suspended. For the next game, they will probably be OK. For us, after the Portugal result, it’s the same. I don’t know whether we will play in June, August or whatever, but it’s no advantage for us.”