Monday, 7 June 2010

England to win World Cup 2010?

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The time draws near. The questions are being asked (again and again). Will Emile Heskey provide the perfect support to hold up the ball for a lethal Rooney? Can Gerrard work in harmonious partnership with Lampard? Will James hold onto the Goalkeeping Number one shirt? Will Carragher or King partner Terry in central defence. Etc etc. Well all those endless repetitive questions will soon be answered when England begin their Group C games on Saturday against the USA.

Every four years England works itself into a national frenzy of hope and expectation to end in tears and frustration (if not a smidgeon of humiliation) as we find our team knocked out at the quarter final stage. Could 2010 be any different? Well yes (I was going to say maybe but that seems very defeatist).
Let’s deal with the negatives first (goodness only knows how many more the newspapers can dig up):-

1. We have just lost our Captain, Rio Ferdinand, on the eve of the World Cup when he injured himself in training.
Crocked: Rio Ferdinand steps gingerly from the England team bus

2. We don’t have Owen Hargreaves to provide a proven holding midfielder to protect the back four when the fullbacks surge forward (Glen Johnson & Ashley Cole) down the wings.

Manchester United's Owen Hargreaves on the pitch fo the first time since September 2008.
3.       The Fifa/Coca Cola Rankings currently place us at Number 8 in the world nearly 600 points below Brazil.
4.       We have to face USA in our Group opener match and they are just six places behind us in the FIFA/Coca Cola Rankings.
5.       We haven’t yet found a good partner for our star striker Wayne Rooney upfront (Crouch? Heskey? Defoe?)
Peter Crouch, England

On the positive side:-
1.       Rio had been injured on and off all season and clocked just 24 appearances. The new Captain, Steve Gerrard is a phenomenal captain for his club and after a lousy season is fired up to lead the national team to victory. (Remember how he fired up the crowd when he pulled one back for Liverpool in Istanbul to 1-3; the Reds went on to win on penalties)
Captain's job: Gerrrd too charge of the side for the first time since taking the captaincy

2.       Gareth Barry is nearly fit and can play as a holding midfielder.

What do FIFA know? They still show John Terry wearing the Captain’s armband in the photo on their website.
4.       In nine competitive matches against the USA England have scored 35 times.
5.       Who cares who partners Rooney (who is world class) as long as someone scores and England win matches?

Given that I was 20 seats out for the Conservatives (and likewise for the Lib Dems) but overall 7/10 perhaps for predicting the outcome of the General Election, I thought I might as well have a go at trying to predict England’s triumphant march towards Stevie G lifting the Cup.

Group C
England 2-0 USA
England 3-1 Algeria
England 3-0 Slovenia

Last 16England 1-0 Serbia

Quarter FinalEngland 2-1 South Africa

Semi FinalEngland 3-2 Brazil (AET)

FinalEngland 2-1 Spain

Yes, that’s pretty (very) optimistic but the sun is shining and sometimes you just have to believe. England expects.....

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