10 Reasons why England WON’T Win the World Cup
The World Cup is here! It’s time to put up your England flags and gather round the telly, as Roy’s boys battle it out in Brazil. Will they finally end 48 years of hurt? No. And this is why…
1) The conditions do not suit England
Most South American experts have stated that it’s unlikely a European team will acclimatise to Brazilian conditions and win the tournament. The statistics back this up, with no team from outside of the Americas having won the 7 previous tournaments staged in South America. Much has been documented of England’s opening game against Italy being played in Manaus, a city in the centre of the Amazon rainforest with fears over high temperatures and humidity. Luckily England’s other two games are in more reasonable conditions, although temperatures of mid-twenties will still be difficult for Premier League players used to playing through the English winter.
2) The group of death
FA Chairman Greg Dyke’s slit throat gesture at the World Cup draw last December pretty much sums up how the majority of us feel about England’s chances of progressing out the group. England are 3rd favourites with most bookmakers to qualify from the group stage behind Italy and Uruguay. The sides are two of the most successful teams in World Cup history, and England’s defence may not be a match for both team’s attacking talents. England beware.
3) There are simply better teams
Spain, Brazil, Argentina, Germany, etc. The FA’s commission into the state of improving the national team has highlighted how far behind England is at grass roots level compared to the leading nations. League structure and English quotas have also been called into question, but any chance an England side has of being the best in the world is a long term plan, and not something Roy’s boys will be achieving in the short term.
4) Not enough experience
Most of the criticism people have voiced about Roy Hodgson’s squad is at the inexperience of most of the players at international level. Four years ago, Fabio Capello selected England’s oldest and most experienced squad at 29.8 years and 39.2 caps on average. This time round, Roy has put his faith in youth, with an average of 26 years and 26.5 caps, and 11 players having played 10 caps or less. Steven Gerrard, Frank Lampard and Wayne Rooney will offer some experience, but let’s hope Roy doesn’t regret leaving Ashley Cole out or not making an attempt to reintegrate John Terry into the national side.
5) Penalties are always a possibility
England have the worst penalty shoot out record of any world cup side, having lost 3 in 1990, 1998 and 2006. The players have been practising their spot kicks in training, but will be looking to do all they can on the pitch to avoid going to a penalty shoot out.
6) Warm up games nullified optimism
A 2-2 draw with Ecuador and a 0-0 stalemate against Honduras didn’t raise expectations about England’s chances of winning the World Cup. Roy will claim the results were incidental, with the focus being on trying out tactics and getting the players used to the humid conditions. England fared much better in a 3-0 win over Peru, but the players will find that playing Peru at Wembley was a lot easier than playing Italy in Manaus.
7) Weak defence
Whilst much has been said of Roy Hodgson’s young and attacking forwards, more focus should be on how England deal with their opposition without the ball. The thought of a central defensive partnership of Gary Cahill and Phil Jagielka worries you more than comforts you against the big names in the tournament, with Glen Johnson and Leighton Baines being good at the back but nothing more. Defensive cover is offered in Phil Jones and Chris Smalling who have both had a disappointing season for Manchester United, as well as 18 year old Southampton left back Luke Shaw, who is relatively new to international football. Against great attacking sides such as Brazil or Spain, I’d be worried.
8) No strength in depth
Much has been said of the youth in the side, and it counts for a lack of proven ability on the world stage once we dig a little deeper than England’s first choice 11. If called upon Barkely, Lallana, Lambert, Sterling and Shaw will all look to impress, but you wonder how much we would prefer to have the option to have a stronger second string side with more experience at the top level, which teams like Spain and Germany can call upon. However, at future World Cups, the young players inclusions in this year’s squad will be very beneficial.
9) Premier League Fatigue
22 of England’s 23 man squad go into the tournament on the back of a long, tough and physical premier league campaign. The premier league is notorious for its faced paced and physically tough ethos, as well as most players also having to play European football for their clubs. The premier league is the most represented league, however, with 119 players, followed by 5 other European leagues. Roy Hodgson has made a point to measure fatigue and energy levels amongst his players, and it should therefore only be a small factor if England fail to win the tournament.
10) Tough route to the final
Should England progress from their group, the route to the final in the knockout stages won’t be much easier for them. Having overcome Italy and Uruguay, facing either Colombia, Greece or Japan would be a positive prospect, but England would look to avoid playing the Ivory Coast. A quarter final against either Spain or Brazil would then be on the cards, with Germany in the semi-finals. If England somehow manage to make their way to the final in Rio, it will surely be either Spain or Brazil which they avoided in the Quarters for the World Cup. We can dream, but our heads are telling us it isn’t meant to be.