Football: Fabio Capello set to be axed as Russia head coach

MOSCOW (AFP) - Under-fire Fabio Capello's reign as Russia manager looks doomed after the country's sports minister Vitaly Mutko said a decision on the Italian's future had already been taken.

"There's no secret, we've already taken certain decisions (about Capello's fate)," said Mutko on Wednesday. "All the questions concerning national team management will be settled before the end of the month."

Capello - reputed to be the highest-paid international coach - has come under increasing pressure following a dismal run of results in Russia's Euro 2016 qualifying campaign.

The R-sport agency reported that the official announcement of Capello's departure will be made once the two sides hammer out the vast sum it will likely cost to buy him out of his contract.

"The decision has already been taken. But there are still some technical details concerning the size of compensation for cancelling Capello's contract," the agency report said.

Press reports also said that the RFU were considering three new candidates, naming CSKA head coach Leonid Slutsky, FC Krasnodar manager Oleg Kononov and former Russian assistant coach Alexander Borodyuk.

Earlier this week Capello oversaw a 0-1 home defeat by Group G leaders Austria in Euro 2016 qualifiers. The defeat and the team's poor performance caused widespread anger and some fierce calls to ditch Capello immediately.

"It's a dead end for the national squad," Sport Express daily front page headline declared after Sunday's defeat. "Capello created this lily-livered team," said former Spartak Moscow great and Soviet international defender Yevgeny Lovchev to Soviet Sport newspaper.

With just eight points from their six qualifying matches so far, Russia face a battle to make it to the finals in France next year as they trail second-placed Sweden by four points with only the top two going through automatically.

Russia's next qualifier is a potentially decisive fixture at home to Sweden on September 5 with a trip to Liechtenstein following just three days later.