Football

England: Do they have a chance at the World Cup?

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Is Hodgson preparing for a new career already? (©GettyImages)
Is Hodgson preparing for a new career already? (©GettyImages).

As you know, the draw for the World Cup in Rio next year has been announced, how could you miss it? It's everywhere.

Pundits are already diminishing England as contenders for the privileged tournament as they're in a group labelled "the group of death".

In their group, they have the company of Italy, Uruguay and Costa Rica. All very tactical and persuasive teams to come up against.

Whilst you may be looking at both Uruguay and Costa Rica as weaker than England, I fear they will put up a fight that any team should be afraid of.

With Uruguay, they have the frightening attack force of Luis Suarez and Edinson Cavani, even the best defence in the world would be afraid to see their names lined up against them.

They're tricky customers and with the form that they're both in they're going to be in no goal drought come next summer - that's for sure.

Another big performing team when it comes to tournaments with reaching the 2012 World Cup semi-finals against Holland where they lost narrowly 3-2.

However, that was with the absence of one Luis Suarez and what a force to be reckoned with come next year he will be. Be worried, England - the hand of god is coming for you.

However, you may look at Costa Rica and not be concerned. Let me tell you that they came second in the World Cup qualifying rounds with a group that had Mexico involved in it, whom they beat 2-1 to qualify.

Their outright best player would be their goalkeeper who plays for Levante UD in the Liga BBVA, Keylor Navas. A profound goalkeeper who has represented his country for 10 years coming in the youth ranking systems.

Italy - everyone knows Italy, who doesn't? After winning the World Cup in 2006 they have been a team to be reckoned with.

With the youth of Mario Balotelli and El Shaarawy nobody has any doubts that they'll challenge the best of the teams out in Brazil.

They're big game performers, reach the final of the 2006 World Cup and winning it and also reaching the 2012 Euro final, unfortunately just falling short.

So, realistically where can England aim for in the World Cup?

Well, let's go through this - in their group they have three tough opponents - playing in scorching heat and still jet-lagged from the journey, they'll be playing their opening match against Italy at 2:00 AM UK GMT. That's not a great start. 

Let's aim high, we could possibly finish second - but that means we're going to have to beat both, Uruguay and Costa Rica. In scorching heat? Have I mentioned the heat that they'll be under? Both as a nation but also the humidity.

It's a big task for England, that's for sure - but this year maybe the pressure is off, in 2010 I felt that the nation were expecting England to at least get to the semi-finals.

With a bit of bad-luck from Frank Lampard's goal, we didn't make it. That's life, but this year's different, I don't think that the nation expect much at all. 

What I hope to happen is that England find a good run of performances and can genuinely oppose and challenge the big teams. Put them under pressure for once. 

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Topics:
World Cup
England Football
Football
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