Newspaper article Evening Gazette (Middlesbrough, England)

I Have Respect for Our Rivals - Capello; Boss Expects: Tough Match

Newspaper article Evening Gazette (Middlesbrough, England)

I Have Respect for Our Rivals - Capello; Boss Expects: Tough Match

Article excerpt

FABIO Capello insists England will not be under-estimating Algeria tonight.

England face the north Africans in Cape Town as strong favourites to grab the win that would put them in pole position to qualify from Group C (KO 7.30pm).

Algeria lost their opener against Slovenia and only reached South Africa in the first place with a narrow play-off win over Egypt.

But Capello is warning against complacency insisting Algeria must be taken seriously.

"I respect Algeria," said the England boss. "They have scored a lot from counter-attacks and set-pieces and I have learned a lot about them. It would be a big mistake to think this game will be easy."

Nevertheless, England came through a friendly against Egypt in March that was arranged specifically with this match in mind.

And Steven Gerrard insists: "Preparations for this match have gone well. Hopefully we will go strong and get a convincing win."

As he hoped, Capello has Gareth Barry available after an ankle injury and the Manchester City midfielder will assume a holding role to allow Gerrard to get forward on the left to connect with Wayne Rooney, a strategy that proved effective in the qualifiers.

"That's the plan," said Gerrard. "We had a fantastic understanding in qualification. I enjoy playing with Wayne. I will certainly be looking to link up well with him."

But Gerrard admitted if England are to win then Rooney must deliver on his goal threat.

"Wayne needs a goal, of course," he said.

"We need him to score the goals to take us to the later stages of the tournament because he's our main player.

"We have to push on now. We were disappointed to only get one point in the first game and we need to win. The dangerous thing is to underestimate Algeria and think it's an automatic three points, which it's not.

"We've prepared really well for this game, the lads have been really sharp in training, and I feel we're ready to put in a sharp performance."

But Algeria midfielder Hassan Yebda is warning they can repeat the shock caused when underdogs Switzerland beat Spain.

And Yebda revealed the team bonded and were inspired by watching Battle For Algiers, a rousing 1966 film about the victory against overwhelming odds and firepower in the war for independence from French colonial rule. …

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