Head coach Fabio Capello was angry that a spectator appeared to be using a laser pen to distract his players during the World Cup draw with Algeria, reports Sky
Russia drew the match with the north Africans 1-1, a result which eliminated them from the World Cup at the group stage for the third time in a row after the same fate befell them at their previous tournaments in 2002 and 1994.
Had they won the game, they would have progressed, and there was controversy after a green light was clearly seen on goalkeeper Igor Akinfeev’s face as he awaited the free kick which ultimately lead to Algeria’s decisive equaliser.
Coach Capello was furious, saying of Akinfeev: “He was blinded by the laser beam, that is the absolute truth. There are pictures. You can see that in the footage. This not an excuse, it is a fact. There was a laser. I have never come up with excuses to get by in my entire life.”
Russia exit this World Cup at the first hurdle after failing to win any of their group stage games. After being held in their opening game by Korea Republic, thanks to an awful goalkeeping error by Akinfeev, they lost their second match to a late Belgian goal, before the final disappointing draw with Algeria.
Capello has come in for heavy criticism back in Russia, with questions over his tactics and team selections, and has been forced to defend his record as national boss.
“I qualified your team to participate in the Euros and the World Cup and the figures I got were pretty respectable,” said the angry Italian, referring to their failure to qualify for the last two tournaments. “And now after 12 years, under my leadership this team made it to the World Cup, OK? I did a pretty good job there I think but if you were to say that we have not done a good job here then I agree with you.”
Capello also appeared uncertain over his future, responding: “If they want me,” when asked whether he would continue as coach of the Russian national team.