EXCLUSIVE Cannavaro: England owe Italy

Italy defender Fabio Cannavaro has taken a sly dig at England’s World Cup preparations, suggesting they wouldn’t be the team they are without the help of his fellow countryman Fabio Capello.

Just two years after the Three Lions embarrassingly failed to qualify for Euro 2008 under Steve McClaren, Capello’s England head to South Africa as one of the favourites to lift the World Cup, having won nine of their 10 qualifying matches.

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Speaking exclusively in the new issue of FourFourTwo, Cannavaro revealed he thinks Capello should take full credit for the dramatic transformation of the England team, saying a much-needed change in thinking may have been behind their recent good form.

"I'm happy for his success in a place where they are a bit presumptious sports-wise,” said Cannavaro, who played under Capello for both Juve and Real Madrid.

“To put themselves back in order, England had to call one of our coaches. That means that our culture clearly works.”

Cannavaro, who skippered Italy to World Cup glory in 2006, also believes that with Capello at the helm England could finally be serious contenders to go all the way in South Africa after years of underachieving.

"Capello certainly starts from an advantageous position - his team will scare others,” he continued.

“They will be among the teams to beat. Other than the Italian mentality, they have the power of a fantastic generation, with its last chance to show its true strength.

“Lampard, Gerrard, Terry are the real thing, and they are going to South Africa to win."

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