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Page last updated at 08:38 GMT, Saturday, 11 October 2008 09:38 UK

Capello in dark over Kazakhstan

World Cup 2010 qualifying Group Six: England v Kazakhstan
Venue: Wembley Date: Saturday, 11 October Kick-off: 1715 BST Coverage: BBC Radio 5 Live, BBC Sport website. Live on ITV1

Arnoldus Pijpers and Fabio Capello
Up until last month, Arno Pijpers (left) was the manager of Kazakhstan

England boss Fabio Capello says he knows very little about World Cup qualifying opponents Kazakhstan because of their recent managerial change.

Kazakhstan sacked coach Arno Pijpers in September and caretaker boss Bernd Storck has dropped 17 players from the previous squad.

"I only know four players," he said. "They have moved a lot of players from the Under-21s and I have one video.

"It's a new manager and squad. But it is impossible to change style totally."

Kazakhstan are ranked 131st in the world compared to 14th-placed England.

England are facing relative international minnows on the back of a superb 4-1 victory in Croatia, but Capello has warned his players against complacency and urged the Wembley crowd to play their part.

We are more confident, more compact, more of a team than we were before

Fabio Capello

"It is very important for the group, for the spirit and the confidence in the team that we win," he said on Friday.

"I think tomorrow we will play with more confidence and I hope the crowd will help us. I know the crowd hope we will win and play a nice game.

"There is a big expectation but it is normal for the England team."

He warned that the match may not be a formality, despite the fact that Croatia raced into a three-goal lead within 20 minutes when they recently beat Kazakhstan.

"It is possible we will not score very early and we have to be patient," he said. "I remember the old Wembley atmosphere and that helped the England players a lot.

"I spoke with the players. We have to play with confidence, better than the last game we played here.


"I said a lot of times we have a good team with very important players. It is important we won against Croatia and now we are better than when we last played at Wembley.

"We are more confident, more compact, more of a team than we were before. I'm sure we will play well against Kazakhstan."

Capello must decide who will partner Rio Ferdinand in central defence in the absence of the injured John Terry, with Everton's Joleon Lescott tipped to get the nod ahead of West Ham's Matthew Upson.

Steven Gerrard is expected to return to the midfield after missing the wins over Andorra and Croatia with injury.

The Liverpool captain will team up with Frank Lampard, with Gareth Barry also set to play.

Lampard on England midfield

"Steven Gerrard is a very important player for Liverpool and us," said Capello.

"He is a fantastic player. He scores goals and makes assists. I am very happy he is back."

Lampard admitted on Thursday he and Gerrard had not played at their peak for the national side.

"We both want to be at our best for England and will probably say that, for the last couple of years, we haven't done that," he said.

"Everyone is trying to find the solution but it's not just me and Steven Gerrard, it's the whole team."

Meanwhile, Storck has told his players not to be overawed by Capello's stars and does not want them swapping shirts on the pitch when the game finishes.

"If they look to change shirts straight away I will be upset," he said. "I'd rather buy them a shirt myself. This is not an important thing, they can swap in the tunnel.

"The players that go to Rooney or Beckham straight after the final whistle would never play again."

Despite the importance of the match, German-born Storck admits the game may not be as big in Kazakhstan as it is in England.

"Even if we pulled off big result not many people in Kazakhstan would know about it," said the former Borussia Dortmund player.

"We have only two or three newspapers in the week, people don't hear about football, the game against Croatia wasn't even shown on TV.

"I hope people there will wake up after the match and it will bring more people into the stadiums."

see also
England v Kazakhstan
11 Oct 08 |  Internationals
Kazakhstan blinded by World Cup fantasy
11 Oct 08 |  Internationals
Pick your England XI
31 Aug 07 |  Internationals
England's problem midfield
09 Oct 08 |  Internationals
England's seven-year itch
10 Oct 08 |  Football
Owen handed England future hope
06 Oct 08 |  Internationals
Owen fails to make England squad
05 Oct 08 |  Internationals
Croatia 1-4 England
10 Sep 08 |  Internationals

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Guardian Unlimited Kevin McCarra: England can build on feelgood factor - 9 hrs ago
Telegraph Theo Walcott handed key role for England - 11 hrs ago
Telegraph Walcott the tyro handed key role for England - 12 hrs ago
Sky Sports Kazakhstan boss warns England - 13 hrs ago
Guardian Unlimited England v Kazakhstan: Bernd Storck warns his players to concentrate on the game, not the reputations of their opponents - 16 hrs ago


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