Brazil vs. Russia  1 - 1

Article

Capello: Russian challenges differ to England

26 March 2013 04:03

Fabio Capello said managing Russia is an entirely different challenge compared to his tenure as England boss.

The Italian, speaking after his side secured a 1-1 draw with Brazil at Chelsea's Stamford Bridge on Monday, returned to England for the first time since resigning as England manager in February 2012.

"It is a very different job, it is the same in terms of managing but it is different because of two main things," Capello said.

"The Russian Premier League takes a three-month break during the winter and the language is very difficult because I always have to speak through a translator as it is difficult to learn."

Russia sit first in their World Cup qualifying Group F, having won all four of their games, and Capello knows there can be no room for slip ups after the nation missed the 2010 World Cup in South Africa.

"I am very happy though because I feel we can do something really important for Russia and the long term target for us to reach the 2014 World Cup in Brazil and be successful," he said.

Capello agreed a Lionel Messi-led Argentina will be hard to beat in Brazil but could not look past the host nation for a favourite.

"Barcelona play without a forward but they have (Lionel) Messi. They have other players as well and Argentina have a good team.

"Gary Lineker believes Argentina may win the next World Cup but I think it will be tough to beat Brazil in Brazil."

Article

Scolari sees Brazil improvement

25 March 2013 23:54

Brazil head coach Luiz Felipe Scolari has insisted his side are on the right path after a 1-1 friendly draw with Russia in London on Monday.

The South Americans needed a last-gasp goal from Fluminense attacker Fred to salvage something against Fabio Capello's men in their Stamford Bridge clash.

Scolari remains without a win in his second stint as Brazil boss - last week's Italy draw and February's defeat to England have been his only other games to date - but he was determined to put on a brave face and look at the positives in recent matches.

He told reporters: "I think that from the game against Italy to this on here we kept the same level, but we were playing against a well-organised team.

"They are one of the 54 (53) European countries trying to qualify for the World Cup. They kept the ball quite well and because of a lot of factors we maybe let that goal in because they marked higher than the Italians and pressed too.

"But what I really liked was that towards the end our team had a good reaction. They didn't get desperate, they kept their heads and worked the ball and scored the goal.

"We haven't evolved as much as from the England game to the Italy game, but we are on the right path. Everybody knows there are no shortcuts for success. You need to go in stages.

"We have to go through every stage to reach the final goal. In each stage we try to add some small improvements - someone comes in, someone changes position etc."

Argentina sit top of CONMEBOL qualification in Brazil's absence and Scolari praised his nation's perennial rivals as well as Radamel Falcao's Colombia, who have been looking sharp in recent games.

"Argentina are always a good team, they have great players," the former Chelsea boss added.

"Colombia always replacing their players with good ones like James (Rodriguez), (Radamel) Falcao and (Jackson) Martinez coming through - that is why they are doing well."

Scolari also dismissed suggestions the World Cup 2014 host nation's supporters have lost faith in the national team, and highlighted the importance of building a strong morale ahead of this summer's Confederations Cup.

"I believe that we already have the support and the trust of the Brazilian fans," the coach continued.

"All we need to do is continue to work with the group. For the Confederations Cup we are going to have a strong, compact group.

"The fans can be sure that they will have a very recognisable group that they will be happy with."

Brazil midfielder Kaka said they were left disappointed they couldn't secure the win, despite taking 90 minutes just to score once.

"I think wanting the victory comes naturally, of course it bothers us, we want to win, but I think that comes naturally," the Real Madrid star said.

"We had a match against Italy, where we were winning for 2-0, and a bad taste was left in our mouth with the final result (they drew 2-2).

"But today was different, we started losing and we felt better when we scored at the end. So, there is little detail that must be corrected, but I think that Brazil is on the right path."

Brazil's next game is against Chile on April 24.

Article

International friendly: Brazil 1 Russia 1

25 March 2013 22:30

Brazil left it late to come from behind and earn a 1-1 draw against a resilient Russian side at Stamford Bridge.

Fabio Capello's men had the better start to proceedings but neither side truly tested the other in a tame first half.

The South Americans saw a lot more of the ball after the break but were unable to unlock a stubborn Russian defence, until Fred's late equaliser cancelled out Viktor Fayzulin's 73rd-minute opener.

Although their World Cup qualifier with Northern Ireland was postponed twice at the weekend, Russia began positively and called Julio Cesar into action after just three minutes. A thunderous free kick from Sergey Ignashevich was just about kept out of the bottom corner by the sprawling Cesar.

Momentum stayed with the eastern European side, and not long after Aleksandr Kerzhakov threatened the Brazil goal but his rifled shot soared wide of the target.

Just three minutes later it took some last-ditch defending to keep Russia off the scoresheet. Roman Shirokov failed to connect with a cross from the right and it took a fantastic block from Thiago Silva to stop Kerzhakov from slotting home at the back post.

Brazil eventually settled into the game but Neymar was unable to get a convincing effort on goal despite two chances falling his way before the half-hour mark.

The tempo of the game soon dropped off as an intensely contested midfield battle limited the room within which either side could feed their attackers.

Moments before the break a brilliant move initiated by Fayzulin looked exceptionally dangerous, but after sprinting 60 yards for the return pass from Kerzhakov he saw Cesar tip his effort around the post.

The Brazilians enjoyed a far better start to the second half but for all their improved retention of possession they were unable to test Vladimir Gabulov before the hour mark.

Contributing to this was the compact and organised nature of the defence of Capello's side. Red shirts swarmed upon the Brazilian players whenever they came close to entering their final third.

The Russian resilience finally paid off as they took the lead, against the run of play, in the 73rd minute. A quick break down the left resulted in a goal mouth scramble and with the Brazilian defenders back protecting the line, Fayzulin was left unmarked to slot home after Shirokov had seen his effort blocked on the line by Fernando.

It looked as though Brazil boss Luiz Felipe Scolari was going to taste defeat for the second time in three games since returning to the helm as coach of Brazil, but Fred managed to slid in a late equaliser in the 90th minute.

A brilliant reverse pass from Hulk played Marcelo in behind the defence on the left side of the area and his low pass across the face of goal was tapped home by Fred.

Despite the Fluminense striker's heroics, Scolari remains without a win in his second stint with Brazil. Capello will be pleased to have extended his unbeaten run as trainer to eight games.

Article

Brazil 1-1 Russia: Last-minute Fred equaliser saves Selecao

25 March 2013 21:25

Brazil left it late to come from behind and earn a 1-1 draw against a resilient Russia at Stamford Bridge.

Fabio Capello's men had the better start to proceedings but neither side truly tested the other in a tame first half. The Selecao saw a lot more of the ball after the break but were unable to unlock a stubborn Russian defence, until Fred's late equaliser cancelled out Viktor Fayzulin's 73rd-minute opener for the draw.

Although their World Cup qualifier with Northern Ireland was postponed twice at the weekend, Russia began positively and called Julio Cesar into action after just three minutes. A thunderous free kick from Sergei Ignashevich was just kept out of the bottom corner by the sprawling Canarinho keeper.

Momentum stayed with the European side, and not long after Aleksandr Kerzhakov threatened the Brazil goal but his rifled shot soared wide of the target.

Just three minutes later it took some last-ditch defending to keep Russia off the scoresheet. Roman Shirokov failed to connect with a cross from the right and it took a fantastic block from Thiago Silva to stop Kerzhakov from slotting home at the back post.

Luiz Felipe Scolari's men eventually settled into the game but Neymar was unable to get a convincing effort on goal despite two chances falling his way before the half-hour mark.

The tempo of the game soon dropped off as an intensely contested midfield battle limited the room within which either side could feed their attackers.

Moments before the break an incisive move initiated by Fayzulin looked exceptionally dangerous, but after sprinting 60 yards for the return pass from Kerzhakov he saw Julio Cesar tip his effort around the post.

The Selecao enjoyed a far better start to the second half but for all their improved retention of possession they were unable to test Vladimir Gabulov before the hour mark.

Contributing to this was the compact and organised nature of the defence of Capello's side. Red shirts swarmed upon the Brazilian players whenever they came close to entering the final third.

The Russian resilience finally paid off as they took the lead against the run of play in the 73rd minute. A quick break down the left resulted in a goal-mouth scramble and, with the Selecao defenders back protecting the line, Fayzulin was left unmarked to slot home after Shirokov had seen his effort blocked on the line by Fernando.

It looked as though Brazil boss Felepao was going to taste defeat for the second time in three games since returning to the helm as coach of Brazil, but a brilliant reverse pass from Hulk played Marcelo in behind the defence on the left side of the area and his low pass across the face of goal was tapped home by Fred.

Despite the Fluminense striker's heroics, Scolari remains without a win in his second stint in the Brazil hotseat. Capello, meanwhile, will be pleased to have extended his unbeaten run as trainer to eight games.

Article

Brazil - Russia Preview: Scolari still searching for first victory of second stint

25 March 2013 08:46



Luiz Felipe Scolari will be keen to pick up his first win since returning as Brazil coach when they take on Russia at Stamford Bridge on Monday.

The trainer is expected to bring in additional experience to a defence that surrendered a two-goal lead against Italy last week, with Thiago Silva and Marcelo replacing Dante and Filipe Luis respectively. Fernando and Hernanes are expected to continue their partnership in midfield with Ramires doubtful after struggling to shake off a knock.

The only other change from the former Chelsea boss will see Hulk drop to the bench with Kaka awarded a starting berth behind Fred.

Russia's preparations, meanwhile, have been far from ideal with their World Cup qualifier against Northern Ireland postponed twice. However, the only likely absentee for Fabio Capello's side will be Igor Denisov who misses out through illness and so Roman Shirokov will captain the side.

Dmitri Tarasov could therefore be handed his international debut in midfield, while the experienced Alexandr Kerzhakov is expected to lead the line.

Brazil have never lost against Monday's opponents. Including fixtures with the former Soviet Union, the South American side have picked up eight wins in 10 meetings between the two nations.

The Selecao came out on top the last time these two went head-to-head. Ronaldo (pictured right) scored the decisive goal in a 1-0 win in Moscow.

Luiz Felipe Scolari is no stranger to Stamford Bridge, having coached Chelsea for just over seven months in the 2008-09 Premier League season

Russia are unbeaten under Fabio Capello and have not lost since their Euro 2012 elimination at the hands of Greece last June.

Alexandr Kerzhakov is just four goals away from joining Vladimir Beschastnykh as the eastern European nation's all-time leading goalscorer.

An appearance for Aleksandr Anyukov will see him join Andrei Arshavin, who has been cut from the squad, on 74 caps.

Brazil are currently in 18th position in the Fifa rankings, their lowest position since the classification's inception, while Russia occupy 10th place.

Article

Scolari, Brazil missing home comforts

24 March 2013 23:13

Luiz Filipe Scolari says he would rather Brazil play warm-up matches at home as they prepare for yet another promotional friendly.

Brazil meet Russia at Stamford Bridge on Monday, with west London their latest stop on the long road to the FIFA World Cup finals on home soil next year.

Scolari, brought in for his second spell in charge following the sacking of Mano Menezes in November, believes the team are gradually improving under his leadership.

But the man who led Brazil to glory in the 2002 World Cup has expressed his regret over the decision to sell the first-team's rights to playing friendlies in their South American home, with higher profit margins generated by taking their brand on the road.

"The pressure is not less or higher in Brazil," Scolari said.

"What happens is we play away so much because the company that has the rights to promote these friendlies with Brazil prefers us to play away.

"We would prefer to play more in Brazil rather than abroad, but we have this agreement to not play in Brazil."

Scolari said he was continuing to assess the considerable talents at his disposal, with more than 60 players due to be considered for national team selection.

"I'm quite happy with it because I think we are improving a little by little," he said.

"I believe maybe in four months' time when we have played the Confederations Cup we will have already observed more than 60 players for the World Cup and we may have an idea which ones are going to be the ones (to make the final squad).

"At the moment I can't say much because with only two games we're still trying to organise everything."

Scolari claimed to be happy to be back at Chelsea - where he spent just six months in charge in 2008/09 - and believes his record was better than is widely perceived.

When asked if he could have won silverware had not been sacked, Scolari was noncommittal.

"I can't say because my time at Chelsea wasn't as bad as people have been talking about ... the numbers show that the games we won and the numbers don't lie," he said.

"We were third in the Premier League, we had qualified for the FA Cup, for the next stage of the Champions League, so I don't think it was that bad, but I can't really tell if I would have won something or not."

Article

Hulk expects testing Russia clash

24 March 2013 19:21

Zenit St Petersburg striker Hulk believes Brazil are in for a tough test against Russia in their international friendly on Monday.

The forward joined the Russian Premier League side from Porto last off-season and, as a result, is well aware of which of Fabio Capello's men will pose a danger in the friendly at Stamford Bridge.

"I know (Russia's) team quite well because six of their players play with me at Zenit," Hulk told reporters. "They are a very strong team.

"They haven't conceded any goals in their World Cup qualification campaign and I believe it's going to be a great game for us.

"It will be difficult, but we will work on these difficulties and try to win the game."

Hulk, who has won 19 caps, believes Luiz Felipe Scolari's men will not benefit too heavily from the absence of Russia skipper Igor Denisov – a Zenit team-mate – as there is plenty of talent elsewhere in the World Cup 2018 hosts' side.

"(Denisov) is a very important player for Russia, but they have other very good players, so I don't think they will have any problems without him," he said.

"But we have to focus on ourselves and try to do everything Scolari tells us to do."

Chelsea centre-back David Luiz, who will be in familiar surroundings on Monday, said Brazil are ignoring their slide down the FIFA standings, a result of not having to qualify for the World Cup due to their status as hosts.

"We can't get any points in the rankings, so they're not really important for us," he said when asked about the FIFA rankings.

"We know everybody always likes to talk about Brazil.

"Brazil has always been producing great results through the years we've been competing, we've won five (world) titles so it's natural people always talk about Brazil, but Brazil is Brazil.

"We can't say anything about the rankings ... not qualifying for the World Cup is affecting our position, but who cares? In Brazil we don't care about that, we just care about winning matches and winning titles."

Article

Capello relishing Brazil test

24 March 2013 18:11

Russia coach Fabio Capello believes Monday's friendly against Brazil will serve as an important test for his side.

Following their 2-2 draw with Italy last week, World Cup hosts Brazil travel to Stamford Bridge to face a side currently four points clear at the top of their qualifying group.

Capello feels the five-time world champions will provide an important measure of how far his side have progressed since a disappointing Euro 2012 campaign.

"I think there will be no problems because we trained really well yesterday and today, we are in good form and we are fresh. I think tomorrow we will be at 100 per cent," Capello told reporters

"It's not an official game, but it will be really important for me to know our value, especially of some of the young players who haven’t played at the top level but will play tomorrow. It's a good test for us to improve.

"I watched the Italy game on TV. It was a really interesting game. They (Brazil) suffered sometimes on the counter-attack against Italy, but tomorrow I read they will play Thiago Silva.

"He's one of the fastest defenders in the world, and so they probably won't have the same problems they had against Italy.

"I saw the Brazilian forwards on the counter-attack are very fast and good technically. We need to be compact in every moment, because if they find the space they will be very difficult to stop."

Russia were due to face Northern Ireland in their latest qualifying match on Friday, but the game was twice postponed due to the severe weather conditions currently affecting the British Isles.

Roman Shirokov had earlier stated his concerns that the match could clash with the Russian domestic league if rescheduled for the autumn, but Capello does not believe there is an advantage to be gained either way.

"It was absolutely impossible to play on that pitch because of the snow, and without snow it was really really wet," he said. "I'm ready to play every time, at every moment.

"For this game, Northern Ireland had two really important players suspended. For the next game, they will probably be OK. For us, after the Portugal result, it's the same.

"I don’t know whether we will play in June, August or whatever, but it's no advantage for us."

Article

Shirokov wants Brazil scalp

24 March 2013 15:45

Russia midfielder Roman Shirokov is fully confident in his side's chances when they face Brazil on Monday.

Fabio Capello's side take on the World Cup hosts in a friendly at Stamford Bridge and although the 31-year-old has warned against reading too much into FIFA rankings – Brazil are 18th and Russia are 10th – he has backed his side to triumph.

"I expect our team to play well and I expect to win," Shirokov told reporters. "FIFA rankings don't always reflect accurately the standpoint of each team, but favourites? Maybe."

Russia's World Cup qualifier against Northern Ireland was twice postponed over the weekend due to severe weather conditions.

Shirokov hopes the match is rescheduled for the summer to avoid clashes with the domestic league.

"The conditions of the field were unacceptable. It was impossible to play, but we have to keep in mind they are not used to this weather on a regular basis, so we have to be a bit more understanding," he said.

"I'm not sure why we're talking about playing the game in November because there are a number of clashes with games for Russian clubs.

"It's more likely we'll play in June or August, and June is the preferred option.

"When we practiced in Northern Ireland, the pitch was OK but the wind conditions were unacceptable.

"Here the pitch is in a good state, so that will give us a chance to play a good game tomorrow."