The English always consider themselves as favourites but does the world care?
On paper, England should make it to the final; so it’s a pity the FIFA World Cup takes place on grass. Still, 44 years of hurt won’t stop the Three Lions from dreaming, and with the likes of Wayne Rooney, Frank Lampard, Rio Ferdinand and Joe Cole on the pitch, they’ve as good a chance as any. Their biggest concerns will be in keeping the big names injury free, trying to coax Steven Gerrard from his poor run of form, and finding the right partner up front for their star player, the thunderous Rooney. There’s also a problem in depth, with very few of their bench warmers having built up much international experience. Overcome these difficulties and they’ll give anyone a game.
Fabio Capello Capello is the second of England’s foreign coaches, and – so far – his ability to stay on the back pages seems to have served him best. He’s not without controversy, however, and the notorious ‘Capello index’ has seen his ratings plummet.
Player to watch
Wayne Rooney Without doubt the player to watch is Rooney. Really, it’s impossible to take your eyes off him. If this scouse lad is in the mood, there are few people on earth that can stop him from scoring. Keeping him injury free will be England’s biggest worry.
We’re on the ball
World cup appearances: 12 Previous best: Winners, 1966 Odds of winning: 6/1 Strange but true: Defender John Terry is notoriously superstitious. He once waited two hours before a match for someone to vacate his lucky parking space. Fixtures: USA, June 12, 10.30pm, Rustenburg Algeria, June 18, 10.30pm, Cape Town Slovenia, June 23, 6pm, Nelson Mandela Bay/ Port Elizabeth