Former England boss Fabio Capello (left) with former Italy striker Francesco Totti at the Dubai Sports Council headquarters, Dubai, UAE. Image Credit: Imran Malik / Gulf News

Dubai: Former England manager Fabio Capello says the current national side will be heading into the Qatar World Cup fresh and ready for the challenge ahead.

England have been drawn against USA, Iran and Wales in Group B and the legendary Italian coach believes Gareth Southgate’s side have a strong chance of lifting the coveted trophy for the first time since 1966.

'At their best'

Capello, who was at the Dubai Sports Council headquarters today to attend the Attracting Talents session as part of the Dubai International Sports Conference, said, “England I think will be one of the most important teams at the tournament because the players will arrive at the tournament fresh. The tournament is not happening at the end of the season which is the normal period when you play in the summer months of June and July. It is happening in the middle of the season and the players are in the middle of the campaign so they are physically now at their best.”

Capello also played internationally for Italy during his career, amassing 32 caps and scoring 8 goals but he is best known as one of the most successful coaches in the game.

Capello (centre) with Saeed Hareb (left) Secretary General of Dubai Sports Council. Image Credit: Imran Malik / Gulf News

In his first five seasons as a manager, he won four Serie A titles with AC Milan, where he also won the 1993–94 UEFA Champions League, defeating Barcelona 4–0 in a memorable final.

He then spent a year at Real Madrid, where he won the La Liga title at his first attempt, and in 2001 led Roma to their first league title in 18 years. He also won two titles at Juventus and in 2006 returned to Real Madrid, where he won another La Liga title.

In 2007 Capello was then given the England manager’s role and he had a good spell in charge of the national side. He was successful in tournament qualification, guiding the team to the 2010 FIFA World Cup, where they were knocked out in the second round. At Euro 2012 he took them to the quarter-finals and then resigned following a dispute with The Football Association.

He took over the Russian national team and then followed a spell with Chinese club Jiangsu Suning but after he was sacked he retired from coaching.

Italy's failure

Italy’s dismal failure to qualify for football’s biggest tournament marked another low point in the modern history of the national side and Capello says he is disappointed. The team was beaten by North Macedonia in its play-off in Palermo and have now failed to qualify for a second consecutive World Cup.

“I am sad that Italy will not be there. We are angry with Italy because they are not present at the World Cup. That is not good for us especially after we won the Euro 2020. But after that we made mistakes, and this is the reason we have not made it to Qatar.”

He believes the tournament, taking place in the Middle East for the first time, will be very good.

“It is interesting especially with the weather - but I think it will be a very good tournament because all of the players will arriving fresh, fast and strong and with more energy.”