Tuesday, 15 October 2013

England’s World Cup Hopes and Aspirations

by Thomas Penlington

(wiki commons)
The subject of the England national football team has come into question on numerous occasions in recent times. This is mainly due to the faltering World Cup qualifying campaign in which the national team are embroiled, and hold a tenuous position at the top of their group, a single point above fellow group rivals Ukraine. The FIFA 14 world cup to be held in Rio, Brazil in 2014 provides a test for England, many fans and football pundits condemning England to failure. The old fashioned rigid 4-4-2 formation deployed commonly by manager Roy Hodgson during their qualifying and friendly matches provides minimum moments of creative flair expressed more openly by countries like Brazil and Spain, who in turn have been far more successful throughout their qualifying and competitive matches. Brazil was recently successful in their home tournament of the Confederations cup with the likes of Neymar, Hulk and Fred helping them to defeat Spain with an expressive creative display. Furthermore Spain sit at the top of their European group with 5 wins 2 draws and 0 loses clearly the perhaps more defensively open style of play leading to a more successful qualifying campaign.
However there is no doubt the negative press surrounding the national team hasn’t helped the likes of Roy Hodgson and his back ground staff from positively motivating the team to succeed. Recent displays against Ukraine have drawn widespread criticism from former players such as Gary Lineker and also newspapers. The mentality transmitted from the England team and camp was that a draw was a good result, the phrase ‘got the job done’ was coined on many occasions by pundits. This negative mentality of believing a draw was ‘good enough’ and not striving for a win and being critical when not achieving a win seems to have been embedded in the mentality of the team reflecting results. The innate animalistic drive to win seems to have been removed from the England team and this passive mentality has been reflected in the performances of the team as shown by 4 drawn results during their qualifying campaign.
The blame however cannot only rest with the manager and coaching staff; a proportion must fall upon the shoulders of the players as well. The defensive set up seems to be a solid consistent selection at the moment with a player regarded by many as one of if not the best left back in the world Ashley, one of a few world class players within the side. The manager also has more than adequate back up in that position with inform left back Leighton Baines and will surely be following the development of the young player Kieran Gibbs. The centre back partnership seems to have fallen on the shoulders of Gary Cahill and Phil Jagielka the older John Terry and Rio Ferdinand partnership making way. This I feel is the best suited mix of players, in a time where the old fashioned tall single striker has made way for the smaller, quicker player willing to run behind. This almost certainly will cause a problem for Rio Ferdinand and John Terry both who would struggle with the pace of the game I feel. The right back position is in no doubt in contest, both Kyle Walker and Glen Johnson in the running, both providing a positive attacking threat with some questionable defensive capabilities. The gaoling keeping position has come into the public eye recently as the current England number 1 Joe Hart comes under criticism for poor displays for both club and country, many calling for someone else being given the chance perhaps in a friendly match rather than a competitive one.

Jack Wilshere
Midfield seems to be a position where England has a large number of possibilities in terms of selection but only a select few of genuine world class ability. The Liverpool and England legend and captain Steven Gerrard can hold his place amongst world class players as can Frank Lampard beside him. Other central midfielder Michael Carrick performed at a consistently high level for Manchester United last season and can be useful as a holding midfielder that plays the simple passes very well. Much has been said about Jack Wilshere some positive some critical over recent performances for both club and country. However he is no doubt a prospect for the future perhaps as seen by many as a potential England captain. Another player who fits in this category is Arsenal player Theo Walcott whose pace can tear defences apart but also his performances can frustrate at times. Other players such as Tom Cleverly I feel bring no positive addition to the England side; the player in question doesn’t possess great passing ability or attacking qualities. This is similar to the case of James Milner who provides little attacking threat and whose great strength lies in his work of the ball, which of course is important, but not necessary if we are able to maintain possession and when we require attacking movements.
Striking options for England have somewhat been short of quality, the likes of Wayne Rooney and Jermaine Defoe growing older and thus their abilities I feel are fading. Although Rooney has been in form recently he hasn’t fully displayed that ability in an England shirt and recent performances international performances don’t fill your heart with reassurance. The recent momentary revelation of Rickie Lambert injected some positivity into the England team. However a recent appearance on the bench perhaps reflects the future for this player. Danny Welbeck is an example of a player who has the physic to be a quality centre forward yet seems unable to reflect that onto his striking performances for both club and country. The patience for this player must surely be dwindling out of reach for manager Roy Hodgson who seems to persist with selecting him. Finally the beacon of hope for England I believe lies with Liverpool striker Daniel Sturridge. He fits the profile of a potential world class player, pace, strength, finishing ability and work rate. This along with other young players with world class potential does provide a positive aspect for England. However when referencing to the coming world cup in Brazil I agree with the recent comments of Glenn Hoddle that England can forget about winning and I believe any success.


  1. Johannes Luckmann7 January 2014 at 15:13

    My prediction of where they will come is around 5th

  2. England Winning The World Cup
    NO WAY!!!
    Germany will win (Just being honest but would love England to win)

  3. hector pocock 7v10 January 2014 at 14:21

    Hope England win the world cup in Rio!!! High chances for the hosts (Brazil) to win it
    Top 5 would be great :) :)


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