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50-50: Liverpool vs. Real Madrid

Champions League about an hour ago
By ESPN Staff
Aug 16, 2008

Capello expects answers from players

England boss Fabio Capello has told his players the time to impress is over and they must now deliver - starting against the Czech Republic on Wednesday. After four games looking at his available talent, Capello has decided on his first-choice XI and, injuries permitting, will use the clash against the Czechs at Wembley to put the final touches to the preparations for the road to World Cup 2010 in South Africa. 'It is an important game because I hope to get the answers from the players that I hope to achieve,' said the Italian.. 'I hope to get what I expect.' Lying in wait in less than a month are away qualifying games against Andorra and Croatia, a repeat of the two darkest nights in Steve McClaren's reign. Goalkeeper Paul Robinson's air-kick was the memorable moment in Zagreb two years ago when England were outclassed, then fans turned on McClaren and non-playing squad members in the stands when Andorra were defeated in Barcelona in 2007. Capello admitted it took time for players to warm to his methods but insists they are ready to start their campaign and continue their efforts to rid themselves of the losing mentality that has been associated with wearing the Three Lions. 'I have to check on the form before the qualifiers but experimenting is finished,' Capello said. 'I know the players very well now. 'When I started working with the players they were a bit scared and afraid. After, a lot of players played better. 'It's not fear about me but it was soon after not qualifying and for the players it was like an examination or test. It is not so. 'I think they know me, what I ask of them, about my style, the movement around the pitch - they know and it's better now. 'The first and second games were different teams and it was hard enough. I think they know better because at the end of the season we had 10 days together.' Capello has highlighted the challenge of taking players with a winning mentality in the Champions League and transferring that to the international stage. He said: 'When playing with their clubs there is no losing mentality. I think if you can train with them every day it is easy to change the mentality with every moment of training with the different work. 'I try to transfer the mentality into the national team because you have to play the same spirit that you see in the clubs. 'I saw the games for the European qualifiers, the matches at the start of the season like against Russia, and they played very well and with spirit. 'You have to play with that spirit and that mentality. I think it is impossible to lose that just because we did not qualify for the European Championships. 'In the last four friendlies we have played I have seen one step forward every time towards recovering the mentality.' Capello believes the progress of Spain at Euro 2008 indicates what can be achieved, adding: 'I think three months ago people never spoke about Spain. Now they are the best team in the world - it's a miracle! 'Spain is a very good team, they played well. But we are different and I think you can win against Spain. Why not? I'm very confident in my team.' Even though the 62-year-old has his best team mapped out, it is unclear at the moment whether Wayne Rooney will feature as a support striker or out-and-out forward. 'I think Rooney can be both, it's possible to play like a second forward and score goals,' Capello said. 'He played very well in two games - he didn't score but I was very happy with the performance.' Despite a lack of genuine world-class strikers to support Rooney, Capello is happy with his firepower from elsewhere in his squad. Today he left Portsmouth striker Crouch out of his squad for the Czech Republic match, bringing in Wigan's Emile Heskey, with Jermain Defoe - Crouch's new strike partner at club level - also included. 'You have to play in a different style - the other players they have to score more goals,' Capello said. 'You have to come in front of the goal with a lot of players. 'It's a problem everywhere - Italy so-so (in attack), Germany so-so. Only Torres is a big striker in this moment in the world. 'Portugal, no. Also the French, you didn't see anything (at Euro 2008). It's a big problem now because the teams defend very well.'


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