Fabio Capello predicts that France will meet England in the World Cup final “and in that case I see England as favourites”.
The former Juventus, Milan and Real Madrid Coach was England manager for the 2010 World Cup, leaving abruptly before Euro 2012 after John Terry was stripped of the captaincy without him being informed.
“They have fast lads and a great manager [Gareth Southgate],” Capello said of the Three Lions, speaking to Gazzetta dello Sport.
“Southgate understood that he’d go home with two central defenders, so he put three. He’s finally found a goalkeeper who saves: [Jordan] Pickford has reactions and positional sense.
“He [Southgate] is helped by a context like the Premier League in which clubs launch youngsters without being conditioned.
“The talent was there, but his intuition was [Harry] Maguire in a three-man defence, the choice of Pickford and managing tension.
“The final? France-England. And in that case I see England as favourites.”
Capello also gave his assessment of the other semi-finalists, starting with Les Bleus.
“[Kylian] Mbappé and Neymar are the successors of [Cristiano] Ronaldo and [Lionel] Messi. The Frenchman has power, speed, an eye for goal and can still improve. He’s head of where CR7 was at his age.
“Didier Deschamps? He was more of a defensive midfielder than an attacking one and he’s brought that humility to France.
“He’s lucky that he gets to play with 11-and-a-half because he has [N’Golo] Kante. He doesn’t just run, he’s intelligent and has positional sense.
“Belgium have a lot of quality, [Thibaut] Courtois is a great goalkeeper and he reiterated that against Brazil.
“The midfield is solid and up-front there are talents like [Eden] Hazard, [Kevin] De Bruyne and [Romelu] Lukaku. I didn’t think the Lukaku of Chelsea could reach these levels.
“I met Roberto Martinez when he was at Wigan, he was always tactically intelligent.
“Excluding [Radja] Nainggolan was a courageous choice. You just have to look at the ranking to see where he’s taken Belgium.
“As for Croatia, they have the quality of the Slavs - and I hope they’re not offended by that defintion.
“The Croatians are the South Americans of Europe, they have above average technical qualities.
“Croatia have never had problems with quality, but with consistency. With [Zlatko] Dalic they’ve found it.”