Laser beam distracts Russia
Fabio Capello (AFP)
CURITIBA, Brazil - Russia boss Fabio Capello said a laser beam that distracted goalkeeper Igor Akinfeev and poor officiating had been to blame as his side crashed out of the World Cup with a 1-1 draw against Algeria on Thursday.
Television images showed the laser pen had been shone in Akinfeev's face seconds before Islam Slimani's second-half equaliser which sent Algeria into the last 16 for the first time.
"He was blinded by the laser beam. There are pictures and you can see that in the footage," said the Italian
"About the lasers it is not an excuse. The goalkeeper was unable to do his job. The laser beam was in his face."
Capello was also not happy with the free-kick that led up to Algeria's goal on a night which had started so promisingly for Russia when Alexander Kokorin had headed them into a sixth minute lead.
"If there is something I have to complain about in this World Cup it is the treatment of the referees.
"I have always kept my mouth shut, but now it is over I can speak. The referee should have blown for a foul on our player before he gave a free-kick to Algeria.
"We didn't make any mistakes today. We played an excellent game, we scored a goal and their goalkeeper made a couple of excellent saves up until this moment of the free-kick."
Russia's failure to qualify for the last 16 continues Capello's poor record of just one win in seven games as a coach at the World Cup having overseen England's 4-1 thrashing at the hands of Germany in the last 16 four years ago.
However, he defended his record in charge of both countries and said he plans to continue in his current role until Russia host the tournament in 2018.
"As long as they still want me I will stay," he added.
"We will have to ask the management that question. With England we went to the round of 16. I qualified England to play in the European Championships and the World Cup and the figures I got with their national team were respectable.
"With this team we got to a World Cup for first time 12 years. I think I have done a pretty good job so far and it is unfortunate we didn't go through."
There were very different emotions for Algeria boss Vahid Halilhodzic who is relishing the chance to take on Germany in the last 16 in Porto Alegre on Monday.
Thirty-two years ago Algeria were controversially eliminated from the World Cup on goal difference when West Germany and Austria played out a mutual beneficial 1-0 win for the Germans.
"We have not forgotten about it. Everyone talks about Algeria and Germany from 1982," said Halilhodzic.
"Thirty-two years ia a long time, but I am very proud of what we have achieved tonight and we deserve to be here.
"Algeria played a heroic match and our qualification for the second round is perfectly deserved."
"This is the result of what we have done for the past three years, we have progressed a lot. This is the reward.
"I love it as a coach when I see my team fighting like this."
Halilhodzic admitted his side will be more inexperienced and physically inferior to the Germans, but insisted anything was possible for a young side that has already made history.
"In the first-half Russia used their experience and my players were a bit naive, but once again this Algerian team showed what it is capable of and still has a lot of margin to progress.
"Why can't we do it in the next round against Germany?
"We know it will be very tough. I saw Germany against the United States and they are all huge and run a lot, so it will be very complicated in what will be our fourth game."