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Why England’s World Cup campaign is already better than 2010

| 16.06.2014

In 2010 a blunder by Rob Green allowed USA to nab a draw in England’s World Cup opener and from then on the campaign became embroiled in negativity.

Four years on the Three Lions have failed to even salvage a point from their first group match, going down 2-1 to Italy, yet have shown enough already to prove that this is a far better tournament for Roy Hodgson’s men.

South Africa will always be remembered for a stuttering start, an attempted John Terry coup and a mauling by Germany in the round of 16. There was talk that the strict rules Fabio Capello had placed on them had brought about a sense of cabin fever and as a result, performances slipped.

This time around it’s clear the squad are thoroughly enjoying themselves; half an hour spent on Daniel Sturridge’s Instagram account proves as much.

Beyond that, there’s a real honesty and openness about this campaign.

Wayne Rooney was played out on the left for the Italy match – when that happened for Manchester United he almost left but with the white shirt of his country on his back he’s been only too happy to play the role.

Things famously haven’t gone well for the striker at World Cups, but rather than take a brash defence of his status in the squad, Rooney had the grace to admit he’s not a guaranteed starter against Uruguay, a game England are 5/4 to win.

Then there’s Sturridge, an international newbie taking on a major tournament for the first time off the back of a superb club campaign. He scored England’s equaliser and could be forgiven for using that to talk up his game. Instead he’s talked of his sadness for letting the country down.

So, while we may not get as far as four years ago (it’s 17/20 that we don’t) there’s plenty more reasons to be prouder of this campaign than the Cape Town Coup of 2010.

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Matt Wiggins

No idyllic sound comes close to leather on willow for Matt, whose previous experience includes stints with Spin Magazine and Surrey County Cricket Club. It's not just cricket that interests him though, with football, golf, tennis and any American sport not played on ice all high on his list of favourites.