CURITIBA: 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.