Past tournaments: 1950, 1954, 1958, 1962, 1966, 1970, 1982, 1986, 1990, 1998, 2002, 2006, 2010
Previous Best: Winners – England 1966
How they got here: For all the pessimism that surrounds England in the build up to a big tournament Roy Hodgson’s men qualified for Brazil 2014 as the unbeaten top team in Uefa Group H. However, convincing wins over Moldova, Montenegro, Poland and San Marino at Wembley were tempered by a failure to beat Ukraine home and away.
Star man: Wayne Rooney (Manchester United)
Rooney remains a player that divides opinion across the globe but despite the emergence of young and creative players in the Three Lions squad the Manchester United man remains the one the country will look to carry the team. He may have been overshadowed by Daniel Sturridge on the domestic front but with seven goals he was England’s top scorer in qualification. Just 11 goals off Bobby Charlton’s all-time scoring record, Rooney himself believes it is his time to finally shine on the world stage.
Remind yourself of what England star man Wayne Rooney can do when playing at his lethal best:
Under the radar: Adam Lallana (Southampton)
Hodgson’s preference for youth in this squad means many players approach the tournament as relative unknowns. Raheem Sterling will frighten many a right back and Rickie Lambert will prove an awkward man to mark if he gets some game time. However, Adam Lallana’s rise from League One to the World Cup in just four years means few outside of England will know what to expect. With 10 goals and six assists to his name this season he could have a big part to play in Brazil.
Team nutcase: Glen Johnson (Liverpool)
England’s stars have been quiet of late. Rooney tops the booking charts this season with eight but even he has calmed from his ‘ahem’ extracurricular activities. Steven Gerrard should be fine – as long as no one refuses to play some Phil Collins and the craziest James Milner gets is putting his socks on before his trousers for a laugh. That just leaves Liverpool’s Johnson then who hit the headlines early in his career for nicking a toilet seat from B&Q!
How will they get on?
As yet the England Expects brigade is keeping a low profile with many fans cautious of the threat of Italy and Uruguay. However, with the Azzuri notorious slow starters and Luis Suarez a doubt for a Uruguay side that flattered to deceive in qualifying the Three Lions should expect to get out of the group.
The relatively weak Group C means the second round should pose few problems for Roy’s men either but with Brazil or Spain the most likely opponents in the quarter-finals that looks about as far as they can go.
To win the World Cup: 33/1
Best World Cup Bet: England to exit on penalties– 6/1
Let’s hope the current crop learn from the mistakes of their predecessors:
How far do you think England can go at the World Cup? Tweet @JamesLCParry with your views now!
All Odds and Markets are correct as of the date of publishing.
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