England World Cup Odds : 4/6 to Qualify, 33/1 to win – Can the Three Lions do the unthinkable?
So how far can England go? Latest odds for England to qualify or win their group are 4/6 and 12/5 repsectively, while those patriotic punters can take 33/1 for them to lift the trophy.
Every World Cup has a group of death however such is the strides made by the supposed smaller nations and the continued improvements of the top countries, the 2014 edition could features not one but potentially three tough groups.
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One of those is Group D which features England, the current Copa America Champions, Uruguay, the CONCAAF qualifying group winner Costa Rica and Euro 2012 finalists, Italy.
Uruguay and Italy are the favourites to not only qualify but to be in the mix for the Jules Rimet trophy however the fact that Roy Hodgson’s team will be underdogs, a tag that will suit a manager, means the expectations have been reduced significantly before a ball is kicked.
The opponents coupled with the young squad Hodgson named means that England are not expected to be in the mix to repeat the feat of their fellow country 48 years ago.
England fans will hope that Raheem Sterling and Daniel Sturridge can put the disappointment of missing out on the title with Liverpool behind them in Brazil.
The attacking pair have enjoyed stunning season’s scoring 36 & creating 15 for club and country between them and they are likely to play big parts at the World Cup. The fact that neither played European football this year means that to the likes of Uruguay, a certain Mr Suarez aside, and Italy they will have that unknown factors.
Both have bags of pace, are strong on the ball and comfortable playing in a counter-attacking system.
Another young player who could make an impact is Ross Barkley. The Everton man is a top talent and his penchant for that “something” special could prove key in tighter games.
Experienced heads Wayne Rooney, Steven Gerrard and Frank Lampard will also have huge roles to play and England will need all their top level know-how to guide the young Lions through.
Despite the optimism that surrounded the youthful squad named it is very hard to see England getting past the group stages. Uruguay and Italy are two very strong teams with some of the world’s best players including the likes of Suarez, Edison Cavani, Andre Pirlo and Mario Balotelli while Arsenal forward Joel Campbell will be a key man for Costa Rica.
The opening match against Italy will be crucial to building the belief within the squad. If they can get a result against the Italians it will lead them nicely into the clash with Uruguay with Costa Rica on the 24th the final game.
However depending on their performances in the opening two games, one of the key game from an England perspective will actually not involve them.
The clash between Italy-Uruguay, a repeat of the third-place match at the FIFA Confederations Cup Brazil 2013 will be crucial to the final places with the winner likely to top the group. The two sides needed penalties to separate them the last time and Hodgson and his men would be happy with another draw.
That said Hodgson will need to get a win against either side coupled with another three points against a Los Ticos side that cannot be taken lightly.
Six points should be enough to progress especially as Costa Rica have shown before that they can make life difficult for the bigger nations. After that their chances of progressing further become easier with the winners and runners of Group D facing their Group C opponents.
Group C features Colombia, Greece, Ivory Coast and Japan and should not hold any fear for the Three Lions, especially after the group stages. Get as far as that and then a nation can start to dream.
Goalkeepers: Joe Hart (Manchester City), Ben Foster (West Bromwich Albion), Fraser Forster (Celtic).
Defenders: Leighton Baines (Everton), Gary Cahill (Chelsea), Phil Jagielka (Everton), Glen Johnson (Liverpool), Phil Jones (Manchester United), Luke Shaw (Southampton), Chris Smalling (Manchester United).
Midfielders: Ross Barkley (Everton), Steven Gerrard (Liverpool), Jordan Henderson (Liverpool), Adam Lallana (Southampton), Frank Lampard (Chelsea), James Milner (Manchester City), Alex Oxlade-Chamberlain (Arsenal), Raheem Sterling (Liverpool), Jack Wilshere (Arsenal).
Forwards: Rickie Lambert (Southampton), Wayne Rooney (Manchester United), Daniel Sturridge (Liverpool), Danny Welbeck (Manchester United).
Standby: John Ruddy (Norwich City), Jon Flanagan (Liverpool), John Stones (Everton), Michael Carrick (Manchester United), Tom Cleverley (Manchester United), Andy Carroll (West Ham United), Jermain Defoe (Toronto FC).