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Capello will stay on as Russia coach: sports minister

Russia's national team head coach Fabio Capello speaks during a news conference ahead of their 2014 World Cup qualifying soccer match agains
Russia's national team head coach Fabio Capello speaks during a news conference ahead of their 2014 World Cup qualifying soccer match agains

MOSCOW (Reuters) - Fabio Capello is staying on as Russia coach and is expected to soon sign a contract extension that will take him through to the 2018 World Cup, the country's sports minister said on Saturday.

"I can say that an agreement in principle between the coach and the RFU (Russian Football Union) has been reached," Vitaly Mutko told local media.

The 67-year-old Italian was appointed on a two-year contract in July last year, replacing Dick Advocaat after the Dutchman stood down following the team's early exit from the Euro 2012 tournament.

Capello quickly moulded the Russians into a competitive, if unspectacular team, and led them to the 2014 World Cup finals in Brazil after topping European qualifying Group F ahead of Portugal.

"As far as I know, his lawyer (his youngest son Pier Filippo Capello) will come to Moscow on November 21-22 and everything should be settled," Mutko said, adding that the Italian was expected to sign a new four-year contract.

"There are several options for the date of the signing of the new agreement but probably everything will be officially formalised after the draw for the World Cup finals (on December 6)."

Capello boasts a remarkable record of success at club level after winning domestic titles with AC Milan, AS Roma, Juventus and Real Madrid and the UEFA Champions League with Milan.

He led England to the 2010 World Cup finals and then helped them qualify for Euro 2012 but resigned a few months before the tournament following a dispute with the English FA.

The Italian will turn 72 in 2018 when Russia will host the global showpiece but Mutko believes Capello's age would not be an obstacle.

"We cannot lose the momentum and the continuity now," Mutko added.

(Writing by Angel Krasimirov; Editing by John O'Brien)

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