Fabio sees England train

As the sun shone down on Urca on Tuesday, a familiar figure looked on from the stand as Roy Hodgson conducted his final training session in Rio before England’s meeting with Uruguay. 

Fabio Cannavaro, a World Cup-winning captain with Italy eight years ago, was observing the session as he continues his coaching education following his retirement three years ago.

An illustrious career that included spells at Parma, Juventus and Real Madrid, Cannavaro was forced to hang up his boots due to a knee injury a year after joining Dubai outfit Al Ahli.

Fabio Cannavaro lifts the World Cup in 2006

Fabio Cannavaro lifts the World Cup in 2006

Still resident in Dubai, where he now has a technical role at the club, the 40-year-old former defender is currently working as a TV pundit during the World Cup as was invited to see the Three Lions training by boss Hodgson.

“I work with English television but I am coaching so for me it is important to know and to see something different,” he told TheFA.com. 

“I asked Mr Hodgson last month when I met him in Lisbon if I can watch training and he said to me ‘of course’. The location is great. It is a very nice location.” 

Cannavaro was skipper of the Azzurri when they lifted the World Cup in 2006 and was a happy man as they opened this summer’s Group D campaign with victory over Hodgson’s men.

But he believes England have the qualities to respond when they face Uruguay in their second game on Thursday. 

“Of course, they have a very strong game but they need to enjoy it because now they are under pressure after the Italian game,” he said. 

“They have the quality to win the next game. Now the people put pressure on the England team because they lost against Italy but that is football. Now they have a chance – they have to win another game. 

Fabio Cannavaro speaks to FATV

Fabio Cannavaro watches England training

“I was surprised by the Italian performance because we played so good. We had the control of the midfield with Pirlo, De Rossi and Verratti. 

“For us, of course, it was a very good result but now I am afraid for the next game because for us sometimes it is much better to play against England than small teams. But the result in football is most important.” 

He added: “I won the World Cup for Italy, for my country and to be here is nice as well. The World Cup is something different, something amazing. 

“I am happy and I am enjoying it. I am here after four World Cups as a football player and now I am here in another job. 

“When you are talking about football you are talking about Brazil. I was in the Maracana watching Argentina-Bosnia and I said it was the best stadium in my life. The Maracana is incredible. 

“The atmosphere inside was so good but it is the World Cup so everybody is enjoying it.”

You can watch our interview with Fabio in the player at the top of the page.