Moscow - Russia are braced for a tough World Cup campaign,
according to coach Fabio Capello, who added that he believed his players were
capable of performing on football's biggest stage.
"I think Russia has a good team," the Soviet Sport
daily quoted Capello as saying.
"We should remain realists because nothing will come
easy for us at the World Cup."
Capello continued: "I expect our group opponents to
play flat out against us, both physically and mentally. We need to be ready for
that and I believe that three warm-up matches will help us a great deal."
Capello has lined up preparation matches against Slovakia on
May 26, Norway on May 31 and Morocco on June 6 in a bid to expose his team to
contrasting playing styles ahead of Brazil.
The tournament kicks off on June 12 and runs until July 13.
Russia, making their first appearance at the World Cup
finals since 2002, are in Group H along with Belgium, South Korea and Algeria.
The 67-year-old former England manager added that he was set
to attend at least two matches featuring Russia's group rivals ahead of the
"Of course I will thoroughly study the video footage of
our group rivals' matches," he said.
"But I'm also set to watch Belgium in their warm-up
match against Sweden in Stockholm on June 1 and to attend the match between
Romania and Algeria in Geneva three days later."
Capello added that the team's pre-World Cup camp would be
held in Moscow in a bid to avoid any extra pressure.
"The footballers should be in a positive mood,"
the Italian said. "That's why I don't want to go to Brazil too early - to
avoid the pressure that the players will feel there ahead of the start of the
"Every single detail at the World Cup is very important
and may influence the team's fate at the tournament.
"This is the charm of the World Cup and at the same
time its main difficulty."
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