Hoddle: Subs key in Italy showdown

11 June 2014 02:31

Glenn Hoddle thinks Roy Hodgson's super subs could win England their World Cup opener against Italy.

England will be hoping to get their Group D campaign off to the perfect start with a win over Cesare Prandelli's team in Manaus on Saturday.

Hoddle believes England's decision to hold their warm-weather training camp in the Florida heat was a wise one, but he thinks the Brazilian climate will take its toll on the players in the dying minutes of the match.

The former England manager thinks players who come off the bench in the dying stages could therefore have a decisive impact.

"Miami is the right place to come to try to acclimatise to Manaus, but unless you go to a jungle, you are never going to get perfect conditions that are going to be parallel," Hoddle told FIFA.com

"It's pretty evident to me that the Italy game will be decided in the last 20-25 minutes.

"You saw Ecuador's substitutes inject some pace and liveliness into their game (against England in Miami) and did very well when they came on - and our subs are going to have to have a massive impact."

Manager Hodgson has plenty of pacy players he can introduce off the bench like Ross Barkley, Jack Wilshere and Raheem Sterling - although the latter looks likely to start in Manaus.

England will face Uruguay and Costa Rica after their match against Italy.

Hodgson's men are huge outsiders to win the tournament and Hoddle appears to think they have little chance of going all the way too.

The former Tottenham midfielder, who played for the national side 53 times, did not include England in his long list of potential contenders, and backed Argentina to win it.

"I think this is a really open tournament," he said.

"I really don't fancy Brazil to win it - I think their frailties are defensively.

"I would go for Argentina, but then again they are under pressure every year.

"The Germans have found it hard to get over the line. When have you ever had a German coach who has had over 100 games and not won a tournament?

"For the Spanish to win it back-to-back is going to be extremely difficult, although they've got a very strong squad still. You wouldn't want to play Belgium, but whether they believe they can go and win is another thing.

"I think it's down to their mental belief, but they've certainly got the talent and the squad. Even teams like Colombia and Japan will surprise people with the talent that they've got. It's a very, very open race, but I'll stick my neck out and go for Argentina."

Source: PA

World Cup Group G

Belgium 1 0 0 3 3
England 1 0 0 1 3
Tunisa 0 0 1 -1 0
Panama 0 0 1 -3 0
Last updated : 14:57