Do you honestly think England can win the World Cup? Why not? My target is to play in the final. I think our team is really good. I'm really happy now with the England team, with the players. We always have to improve but I think if all players are fit for the World Cup we can beat all the teams
Following a very busy season in which a number of squad players have been injured, has the team got enough in the tank to get through to the latter stages of the tournament?
I hope that in this month before the first game we can recover the forces. At the end of the season here in England, the play is not the same as when we started.
I want to speak about the German teams. When you play the Champions League at the beginning of the season German teams are not good. Bayern Munich qualified for the quarter-final in the last game they played. But into spring and the end of the season it's really dangerous to play against [the Germans] because during the winter they stop the Bundesliga for a month. They always recover their forces and it's really good for the players.
The English players arrive a little bit tired – but I think in one month with the doctors and different training we will be fit for the World Cup.
Would you be prepared to gamble on a player that isn't 100% fit? Previous England managers have…
To decide the final squad we'll always speak with the doctors. Like with the club managers, I speak with the doctors to decide the first XI and the people to stay with me on the bench. Here I will do the same: I have to speak to the doctors and if the players will be fit they'll stay with us. The players with an injury or with some problem will not stay with us, because I prefer a fit player to one who's not fit. We have to speak with the doctors. The doctors can tell me "Fabio, in two days, three days, he will be fit" - but in two weeks, no.
He's injured till well after the World Cup, but what plans, if any, do you have for David Beckham?
We invited him to stay with us in Rustenberg but we have to check his situation physically with his doctor. If he stays with us we're happy because he respects the players and the players respect him, he's good in the dressing room.
Will a part of the World Cup training schedule feature specific penalty practice for the squad?
We practise during training every time we stay together. When you practise it's easy to score because the pressure is not the same when you have to score the goal to win the game. I remember Roberto Baggio - one of the most important players in Italy, in the world - he missed the last penalty against Brazil in the final in the USA; he said "I've never shot one penalty over the bar." but he shot over the bar under pressure. You can practice penalties a lot but when you arrive in front of the keeper to score the goal the keeper is big, too big. During the training he's small!
Interview: May 2010.