Are the Three Lions up to the challenge?
Less than a week to go – six days to be exact – and the World Cup fever is starting to hit many, but will it strike the Three Lions?
This time around, Roy Hodgson has had the opportunity to build his squad around a core group playing for the same team, in this case Liverpool. Much like Germany with Bayern Munich, England’s World Cup team is built on a Liverpool foundation, with captain Steven Gerrard, as well as Johnson, Henderson, Sterling and Sturridge at his disposal, which could grant this team the necessary chemistry and automatisms to keep the ball rolling smoothly.
It is beyond doubt too that this England is a very talented squad, comprising both veterans of the game and youngsters eager to show themselves to the world, especially in the attacking department.
With players as Sturridge and Rooney to score the goals, and Lallana and Barkley to provide the vision and passing, we can hope to expect an exciting and fluent England.
England’s defence has been a talking point lately, and the preparation friendlies have illustrated the insecurities of this side’s backline. The centre backs, Cahill and Jagielka, are an ageing duo with little experience in major tournaments, and Hodgson’s choice for youth instead of experience, such as bringing Shaw instead of Cole, may prove to be a crucial factor in their chances of success, especially against world class strikers like Uruguay’s Cavani or Italy’s Mario Balotelli.
This World Cup is not only about flashes of brilliance, it is also about stamina and resilience. What will prove to be a difficulty to many teams, England included, are the playing conditions. The Three Lions have a rough schedule ahead of them, starting against Italy in the sweltering heat of Manaus, to then travel South to face Uruguay and lastly Costa Rica. If the team handles the harsh shift in weather well, it could be invaluable to their success, but I fear the drastic change might be too much for some players.
Although England drew a rough group, I believe this time they will advance beyond the group stages in second place, on to beat Colombia in the round of 16, to prove lacking against Brazil in the quarter finals.
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