Soccer-Capello says Algeria stronger than in 2010


By Keith Weir

CURITIBA, Brazil, June 25 (Reuters) - Algeria have improved since they held England to a 0-0 draw at the 2010 World Cup, Russia's coach Fabio Capello said on Wednesday, recalling his last meeting with the North Africans.

Capello's Russian team cannot afford another stalemate against Algeria on Thursday because only a win will give them a chance of progressing to the last 16 from Group H after picking up one point from their first two games.

"I believe this is a better team than the one we faced in South Africa. It's a much quicker team and certainly much better organised," Capello, who was England coach in 2010, told a news conference.

"They are doing really well," added the Italian. Algeria, who have never reached the second round, beat South Korea 4-2 on Sunday and suffered a narrow 2-1 defeat to Belgium in their first game.

Capello, who made few friends in the English squad with his disciplinarian approach in South Africa, allowed a Brazilian martial arts group into the Russian camp this week.

He denied that this was a conscious effort to lift the mood after their disappointing 1-0 defeat to Belgium.

"There was a suggestion that this group of guys came in to put on a show for us. We took part in their dances and it was all very pleasant," he said.

"The boys know they can do what they want."

Appearing at their first World Cup since 2002, the Russians have scored only one goal in Brazil. That came in a 1-1 draw with South Korea in their opening game.

An early exit will be a blow for Russia before they host the 2018 tournament.

Capello bristled when it was put to him that his team needed to adopt a more open style.

"We've always played an attacking game and created chances in every match," he said. "We had chances but the truth is we didn't take them."

As he got up to leave a short news conference, Capello, who was speaking Italian, volunteered one final thought that underlined the tension of the occasion.

"Let's hope we have good refereeing," he said. Turkey's Cuneyt Cakir will take charge of the match. (editing by Justin Palmer)