Can England win the World Cup? 3

With the domestic league season’s over, and with World Cup qualifying and the Confederations cup in full swing, I was asked recently asked by an associate if I thought that England could win the World cup? At first I thought it must be joke, then I thought, they’re serious and I mused the question and thought “which World cup? Surely not the one in Brazil? At that point I thought about phoning 911 to get the men in white coats to pick him up and have him committed for temporary insanity.

England players celebrate a win

England players celebrate a win

But it made me wonder, can England win he World cup? No, not in Brazil. I’m not going to speculate on future ones just the one coming up and here’s why. No European team has won a World cup in South America and only one team has one the World cup away from it’s own continent and that’s Brazil. They have achieved that twice one in Sweden and the other Korea.

The Alf Ramsay team of 1970 and one that Sir Alf thought was a better team and stronger squad than 1966 and they won the World cup. They got beat by in my opinion by the greatest team ever, Brazil. And then lost a great game after being 2-0 up to top notch German team that was just about to dominate for the next 6 years

England have to qualify first and that’s not a forgone conclusion. If they do qualify it has to be as group winners otherwise they could get a ‘group of death in the finals. If they do manage to qualify then of course they should think of winning it, even if it’s a punchers chance. But the cold hard evidence on view is a resounding no chance.

It can be argued that England are at their best when they are written off and that may be the case, but I’m not parting with my hard earned money.

The current team is undergoing change: England still have to find a settled centre back duo, the right back spot is still open and good as Johnson is going forward, he’s suspect defensively. At left back Hodgson has a world class player in Ashley Cole. A very good deputy in Everton’s Leighton Baines, and two promising players in Gibbs and Shaw.

The midfield area is crucial and ball retention is vital in International football and whatever team has been selected it has clearly struggled in this department. The “Golden generation’ dare I say it, even they never had a general who pulled the strings and orchestrated the rhythm and tempo of a game. If England give the ball away like they have done against Montenegro and Poland then it could be painful in Rio. It also says a lot when our hopes are pinned on a Jack Wilshire. A player who has hardly played in 18 months because of injury.

Much depends on a fit Rooney giving his disastrous injury record in major tournaments and then what formation is used to get the best out of him. England have genuine pace but without quality possession then it could result in aimless long balls which street-wise defenders will read easily, unless they use Andy Carroll?

Personally, I think if Hodgson had his way then England could raise a few eyebrows, though not through the quality and creativity of their approach but by being tough to breakdown and who would press and hit the opposition on the counter attack. He has World cup experience when he took Switzerland to the last 16 of the 1994 World cup so he knows what this tournament is about. But then again Mr Hodgson never had to satisfy 60 million fans and media that suffers from delusions of grandeur.