COACH – Roy Hodgson
BEST SHOWING – Winners 1966
QUALIFICATION – Winner of UEFA Qual Group H
June 14th – Italy (2300 BST, Manaus, BBC)
June 19th – Uruguay (2000 BST, Sao Paulo, ITV)
June 24th – Costa Rica (1700 BST, Belo Horizonte, ITV)

Button Uruguay Button Italy Button Costa Rica


Frank Lampard’s late penalty against Ukraine early in the qualifying campaign proved just enough for England to force their way through to the finals. But despite remaining undefeated, unconvincing performances in Montenegro, Ukraine and Poland left folk pessimistic about England’s chances. Friendly defeats against Chile and Germany have led expectations for England to be lower than I’ve ever known them, some people even predicting that the Costa Rica game will be a dead rubber as both teams will already be eliminated.

But the same could be said of England in Euro 2012 – low expectations, no-one gave them a chance to qualify but they won the group, held Italy and were a penalty shootout away from the semi-finals.

What Roy Hodgson has done is made England tough to beat and in the qualifying campaign, the England goal was breached just four times.

He’s got his tactics prepared and in an attempt to adjust to the Brazilian climate, warm weather training in Portugal and friendlies in Miami await.

4-2-3-1 will be the Hodgson way and Joe Hart will line up in goal.

With Kyle Walker absent through injury, Glen Johnson should play right back with Leighton Baines on the opposite flank. Southampton’s Luke Shaw was preferred to Ashley Cole and the latter immediately announced his retirement.

Gary Cahill and Phil Jagielka are the likely centre back pairing. Despite Cole’s absence some of the old guard remain. Steven Gerrard may play the deep lying midfield role having come off his best season for some years at Liverpool with Jordan Henderson, Phil Jones and the veteran Frank Lampard options alongside him. Ex-Wednesday loanee Ross Barkley has also made the squad.

Raheem Sterling, Wayne Rooney (who will be looking to break his World Cup goal duck) and Adam Lallana could make up the attacking trio whilst Daniel Sturridge will look to replicate his Liverpool form internationally up front.

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05 WORLD CUP LALLANAThe 26-year-old has risen through the ranks at Southampton and as recently as 2011 was plying his trade in League One (even coming off the bench at Hillsborough against Alan Irvine’s SWFC side in September 2010)

He was one of the key players behind Southampton’s League One triumph in 2011 and their follow up promotion to the Premier League in 2012.

Adam Lallana’s prime role is as an attacking midfielder and he can create goals and score plenty but an underrated aspect to his game is his defensive work and knack of making interceptions.

For England, this side to his game could be crucial as both Italy and Uruguay like to master possession and if he can nip in and make those interceptions and make the most of his passing ability, he could be the playmaker England sorely need.


No expectation. No pressure. Home before the postcards. For once the English media aren’t coming up with the nonsense they’ve been known to come out with and building the team up to set them up for a fall.

Roy Hodgson’s no fool either and whilst players may say they believe they can win the tournament, they’ll know no-one has given them a chance to. Defence is a weakness and Johnson at right back looks suspect but believe it or not we have a few weapons who can hurt oppositions, even if they are unproven. Pace will be our weapon against Uruguay and Italy but if we can limit the aimless passing England are known for and use the likes of Henderson, Gerrard and Lallana like we should we can hurt our opponents.

The first game could be our most crucial. If England lose to Italy it’s hard to see a way back but if we can hold or defeat the Italians, do the same with Uruguay and beat Costa Rica then the English can pull off another mini triumph and advance.

We’re not the world’s best side at all but Hodgson will have his side well set up, aware of the plan and he’ll make England tough to beat. With fresh young legs to call on against Italy and Uruguay late on in a tight game…who knows?

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I could fit in with the English style and say we’ll be home before the postcards but I’m slightly more optimistic. 

I don’t think we’ll win the tournament at all but I do think we can advance and if we win the group I fancy England to reach the quarter finals and that for me would represent a good tournament.

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Danny (D-Good)
Owls Alive
TWITTER: @OwlsAlive or @DGood83

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