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Brazil to favour Africa teams - Hodgson

12 Nov 2013 20:47:01

Brazil to favour Africa teams - Hodgson

England manager Roy Hodgson thinks an African nation has more chance of winning next year's World Cup than a European one.

England are preparing for their final two friendlies of a turbulent yet successful year in which they qualified for the 2014 World Cup in Brazil.

There, they will be joined by a whole host of European sides like Germany, Italy, Holland and holders Spain, who are one of the favourites.

Yet Hodgson believes an African country has more chance of succeeding in South America due to the similarity in climate between the two continents.

"I think (African nations) may have a stronger chance than any of the European teams to be perfectly honest because of the climate," said Hodgson in the programme notes for the Nigeria v Italy game, which is taking place at his old club Fulham next week.

In some respects, Hodgson's point adds up, although both continents are so vast that their respective climates vary from one end to the other.

Pele once claimed that an African nation would win the World Cup by the end of the 20th century. That did not happen, of course, but three African nations - Cameroon, Ghana and Senegal - made it to the quarter-finals in 1990, 2002 and 2010 respectively.

The five African nations bound for the World Cup will be decided upon the culmination of a playoff next month.

As it stands, Burkino Faso (ranked 52nd in the world), Ivory Coast (17th), Nigeria (33rd), Ghana (23rd) and one of Tunisia (47th) and Cameroon (59th) look set to qualify.

Hodgson, who worked with Kanu at Inter, plus John Pantsil and Dickson Etuhu more recently at Fulham, is sure African countries are good enough to go even further.

"There are many African players out there of excellent quality now," Hodgson added.

"They play in the top European leagues and that makes the African nations very strong.

"Nigeria have traditionally been one of the strongest, with some famous names in their team.

"Whoever is at the game on Monday night will see two very good teams and it will be an exciting outcome. Who knows, we may even see a little pointer for how things will go in Brazil."

Hodgson's team will be put to the test against South American opposition this Friday when they host Chile at Wembley before taking on old foes Germany four days later.

England's preparations were disrupted slightly by having to move their training venue due to a virus at the national football centre in Burton-upon-Trent.

The squad met up in Watford instead of Staffordshire and trained at Arsenal's London Colney base on Tuesday afternoon.

The Under-21s are based at Watford's training ground, which is located on the same road as Arsenal's.

Manchester United duo Michael Carrick and Danny Welbeck have pulled out of the squad due to their respective Achilles and foot injuries.

An FA statement read: "Danny Welbeck and Michael Carrick have both withdrawn from the England squad due to injury.

"The Manchester United duo featured in last month's World Cup qualifier against Poland, but are ruled out as Roy Hodgson's men gather for two games at Wembley Stadium.

"No additional players will be added to the squad of 26 players."

The good news for Hodgson is that captain Steven Gerrard (hip), his Liverpool team-mate Daniel Sturridge (foot) and Arsenal midfielder Jack Wilshere have joined up with the squad despite their respective injury problems.

Carrick's withdrawal increases the likelihood of Ross Barkley making his full England debut against the Chileans while Welbeck's absence could open the door for the uncapped Southampton man Jay Rodriguez.

Gerrard has been troubled by a hip problem for the last couple of weeks and is expected to play just one of the two matches.

Frank Lampard, who will be awarded a commemorative 100th cap before the Chile game, may skipper the side against the South Americans.

Lampard's two daughters Luna and Isla are understood to be mascots for the clash against the South Americans.


PA

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