Capello looking forward to Wales test

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The Independent Football

Fabio Capello did not get the ultimate Battle of Britain clash - but after declaring "bring it on" beforehand, he will now discover what a big scalp England are after his side were pitted against Wales in the qualifiers for Euro 2012.

As proceedings unfolded in Warsaw's Palace of Culture and Science, England were still to be drawn with only three positions left to fill.

A tantalising meeting with the Scots was still on the cards, only for legendary Poland international Zbigniew Boniek to confirm an English trip to Cardiff as part of the route to the finals which Poland will co-host with the Ukraine.

Capello knows all about Wales' current crop of exciting youngsters already, having shared a flight with John Toshack on the way to the draw yesterday.

"Wales will be my first derby," said the Italian.

"It will be good because they are a very young team.

"I spoke with John Toshack on the flight over. He told me the average age is 22 and he had some really good young players.

"It will be interesting - for me and England."

It is less than five years since the last meeting between the two countries, when Joe Cole's solitary goal proved enough to clinch an England victory at the Millennium Stadium.

A side coached by Sven Goran Eriksson had already beaten Wales at Old Trafford and given the respective status of both nations, it would be a major shock if England did not complete another double.

In fact, while Capello claimed Group A - headed by Germany and including Turkey - and Group G - where England ended up - were the toughest, it is difficult to agree with the Italian.

Wales are beatable, despite the talents of Aaron Ramsey and Jack Collison, while Montenegro - a country England have never faced as an independent nation - won only once in the recent World Cup qualifiers and finished bottom, even if six draws from 10 games indicates an obdurate nature, especially in Podgorica, where only Italy beat them.

Dimitar Berbatov's Bulgaria will present a bigger challenge, especially if Martin and Stiliyan Petrov are both fit but, in the same group as Montenegro, they never looked like reaching South Africa.

And, in a group of just five teams which, in addition to one of the home nations was Capello's major hope, Switzerland do not appear to pose that much of a threat, even though they will be joining England at the World Cup.

Indeed, the Swiss were Capello's first opponents after he had replaced Steve McClaren as coach.

That match, at Wembley in February 2008, ended in a narrow victory, with Jermaine Jenas and Shaun Wright-Phillips scoring the goals for a team that included David Bentley.

Much has changed for the Three Lions since then, as Capello is the first to admit.

"I remember that first game very well," he said.

"What I remember most was that the training session the day before was very good. When I came away from it I was really happy.

"But after the match I had a completely different feeling.

"The players I watched in the match were not the same as the ones I had seen in training the day before.

"But we have improved a lot compared to what we were like when I started as manager.

"Now when we play against Switzerland it will not be the same game."