FABIO CAPELLO believes England have had the best chance of winning a World Cup since 1966 – because they will finally travel with fresh legs and minds.
Former Three Lions boss Capello has kept an eye on the strength and quality of Gareth Southgate’s squad ahead of the finals in Qatar, which begins on November 21.
Fortunately, the timing of the tournament – controversially postponed to avoid the intense Middle East summer heat – turned out to be in England’s favour.
Capello still bears the scars of a disastrous 2010 tournament, which he says was ruined when his side were utterly crushed after the rigors of a long and tiring Premier League season.
The Italian, looking trim and content and arriving without an entourage, was in a relaxed mood as he sat down for an espresso with SunSport at a posh Parisian hotel on the morning after Real Madrid’s Champions League triumph.
Capello, 75, said: “I like English football. I watch all Premier League games. I prefer it.
“The problem sometimes is that English players arrive tired at the end of the season.
“Have you seen Liverpool? It was her 63rd game. They weren’t fresh.
“They played well, but weren’t as quick as usual.
“This time the World Cup will take place in November and December.
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“As an England manager, I’ve always said that you can play all the teams in the world in September, October, November – we’re fresh, we’re running, our heads are clear and clean. The next World Cup for England is really, really good. I guess so.
“It’s the best moment for English football and the English players.
“They will be fresh. Not like Liverpool after 63 games.”
Capello, who coached England between 2007 and 2012, believes Tottenham talisman Harry Kane and £100m Manchester City midfielder Jack Grealish will be key to England’s prospects.
And he’s sure the two will benefit from the expert coaching at their clubs – Three Lions skipper Kane under Italian Antonio Conte and Grealish coached by Spanish mastermind Pep Guardiola.
Capello said: “Kane improved a lot after City’s offer.
“I watched a lot of his early games last season and he lost something.
“He wasn’t the same player. He wasn’t focused.
“Now he is really involved in every moment and does everything Conte asked him to do.
“I saw another Kane when Conte arrived.
“Kane will be a really important player at the World Cup.
“Not many teams can say, ‘We have a really good striker.’ Maybe just France with Kylian Mbappe. Technically, Kane is really, really good.
“For me he is one of the best strikers in the world.
“Jack Grealish is a good player with good qualities but he doesn’t play with City.
“But a year with Pep Guardiola at City will be very important for him and what he needs to do to become a top player.
“He has to sacrifice himself, learn not to just be good when you have the ball.
“After this season, these lessons, I hope he’s learned a lot.
“Conte with Kane and Guardiola with Grealish, these two professionals, that’s very important.”
Capello stepped down as England manager in February 2012, four months before the start of the European Championships, with Roy Hodgson filling the post.
It followed the FA’s decision to go over his head and strip John Terry of the captaincy following a racism row.
Capello, who has now retired from coaching, is incredibly one of only two England bosses in 30 years who did NOT exit a major tournament on penalties.
Kevin Keegan is the other but his side didn’t make it out of the group at Euro 2000.
But luck was not on Capello’s side 12 years ago in South Africa when England were beaten 4-1 by old opponents Germany in the round of 16 of the World Cup in Bloemfontein.
Shamelessly, Frank Lampard’s 38th-minute ‘goal’, which hit the bar and then clearly crossed the line, was missed by officials and that misfortune hastened their downfall.
Capello pointed to his stomach and complained: “I have (the memory) here. It stays here. It is painful.
“I’m disappointed with the game we played against Germany, Lampard’s ‘goal’.
“The referee missed that ‘goal’, the linesman was worse. After that, they used goal-line technology.
“Other than that, I only have good memories of my time in England.
“When I come back to London, everyone there is very nice to me.
“The respect of the fans is really important.”
Fabio Capello promotes Premier Sports, the exclusive UK broadcaster of Finalissima 2022 between Italy and Argentina, at Wembley Stadium on Wednesday.
They will broadcast 400 live UEFA Nations League and European Qualifiers matches for Euro 2024.
Premier Sports is available on Sky, Virgin TV and Premier Player from £9.99 a month and on Amazon Prime as an add-on subscription.
https://www.the-sun.com/sport/football/premier-league/5455536/england-win-world-cup-fabio-capello/ ‘Fresh’ England have the best chances ever of winning the World Cup, says former Three Lions boss Fabio Capello