Why England aren’t doomed in Brazil

December 13, 2013 in International by William Kent

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Now, before you assume, I’m not being typically English - I understand we probably won’t win the World Cup and I’m not setting high expectations of England in Brazil next year. However, some of the coverage of the World Cup group draw, mainly England’s group, has somewhat annoyed me.

Starting with the phrase ‘Group of Death’. I’ve seen this used more times in the past week than I’ve had hot dinners during my tenure on this planet; it’s just not true. For a start, we aren’t paired with any four of the big international sides at the minute in Argentina, Brazil, Germany or Spain, which is a huge bonus. Along with this, we struggled against a group including Slovenia and Algeria last time, what difference does it make who we’re against? Every game is hard work when watching England. ‘Group of Death’ is more relevant term to group B or G; all sides, maybe with the exception of Australia, could have a fairly good case of getting out of  those groups.

Uruguay

…are a very good side. A solid squad, but without Edinson Cavani and Luis Suarez, there’s no one that particularly stands out. Still a good team nonetheless, as proven last time out in South Africa, when they finished fourth.

Suarez and Cavani

However, they are beatable. They finished fifth during qualifying, taking the last qualifying spot, a procedure which didn’t even include tournament favourites Brazil due to their automatic qualification. Uruguay would probably not have even qualified if Brazil were involved, assuming they’d be near the top of the group. Furthermore, the second leg of the play-off to secure their place in Brazil was a 0-0 draw with Jordan, a country who are ranked 70th in the world. Hardly a worrying result as an optimistic England fan.

Their recent World Cup record isn’t great either. Apart from a couple of fourth place finishes in the last 50 years, it’s been pretty poor.

Bookies odds
England win - 13/8

Costa Rica

…is a must win game. It’s a shame this fixture isn’t our opening game, because if England did lose this game, we could save time and tears by flying back home on day one.

Costa Rica

Their squad isn’t great either with stand out players including Joel Campbell (Olympiakos), Bryan Oviedo (Everton) and Celso Borges (AIK) - hardly Barcelona. However, they’re respectably ranked at 31st in the world and will no doubt still supply a sturdy test for England, but this really is a game that must be won. No excuses.

Bookies odds
England win - 4/11

Italy

…are a side that, like Uruguay, don’t particularly make me tremble. Yes, a good team, but they aren’t Brazil or Spain - they have their weaknesses.

Balotelli

Star man Andrea Pirlo will be two years older than last time he terrorised England in a major tournament, a definite positive in my eyes. I’m also glad as a country we don’t rely on the temperamental Mario Balotelli up front - his form is very much like Italy’s overall tournaments of the past decade - hit or miss. Finishing bottom of their World Cup group in 2010, they then came back two years later when they reached the finals in the European Championships. Who knows what Italy will bring next year, hopefully nothing mind you.

They’ve also had some pretty uninspiring results as of late; draws with Armenia and Denmark, both of whom haven’t even qualified.

Bookies odds
England win - 9/5

9/1 to win all three group games

The next round

If we dare to venture further ahead into the next round, we’d face a team from group C which consists of Colombia, Ivory Coast, Greece and Japan. I for one wouldn’t mind playing any one of those to gain entry into the quarter finals. Decent sides that are capable of beating us, but I’d also be fairly comfortable of beating them. Good but not great teams, much like England.

Whilst our group is tough, it’s not awful. It’s a World Cup for crying out loud, it’s meant to be hard, it’s just unfortunate we can’t play San Marino every game.

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