In a week's time the world will all be looking at Brazil for the biggest sporting event on the planet anywhere this year. England is preparing for the daunting test that lies ahead alongside 32 other countries, but can the Three Lions handle the pressure on the grandest stage of all?
England have been placed into Group D along with two-time World Cup winners Uruguay, four-time victors Italy, and relative wildcard Costa Rica. So, do England have a chance? If you were to ask me if England have any chance whatsoever of getting out the group stage, I would just laugh and say 'No'. But maybe there is some hope for England.
Uruguay could head into the tournament without star striker and PFA Player of the Year, Luis Suarez, who has recently had knee surgery. However even if Uruguay didn't have the Liverpool forward England must still deal with PSG striker Edinson Cavani and veteran striker Diego Forlan, who have both been clinical this season for club and country with Cavani scoring 20 goals for PSG this season.
Italy will be England's first test in Brazil when the two European teams play each other on June 14th. Italy has brought with them a good mix of youth and experience. Players such as Juventus duo Gianluigi Buffon and Andrea Pirlo have been there and done it when it comes to playing the World Cup, both players perform well in the big matches and they both represented Italy last year in Brazil for the Confederations Cup last year.
Azzurri coach Cesare Prandelli has also selected youngsters Marco Verratti from PSG and Napoli winger Lorenzo Insigne, which will give Italy an extra angle of creativity and flair. Italy have also been cursed with injuries to key players such as AC Milan duo Riccado Montolivio and Stephan El Shaarawy.
The final team in Group D is Costa Rica. Costa Rica are the weakest team of the group and will most likely end up bottom, but they do have a few players to look out for, such as former Fulham maverick Bryan Ruiz and Arsenal striker Joel Campbell.
I personally think England will fail to escape the group, Uruguay are used to the hot and humid climate and Italy have more diversity and quality in their squad than England do.
England just simply doesn't have the quality to reach the last 16, however I think Hodgson's idea to bring youth players such as Luke Shaw, Jack Wilshere, Raheem Sterling and Ross Barkely was a clever move.
But it is the World Cup. And we have seen before that anything can happen.
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