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Super Moderator
Staff member
Aug 13, 2008

Manager: Fabio Capello
Captain: Rio Ferdinand
FIFA Ranking: 8
Group C

Background: Refused to compete in the World Cup before WW2 but since then have been a key player in the tournament, hosting and winning the tournament with a famous 4-2 win in the 1996 World Cup Final against West Germany. Out of the fifteen World Cups since WW2, England have only missed out on three, but have only gone past the quarter-finals twice; in 1990 when they lost on penalties to Germany in the semi's, and in 1966. Famously known as the side with the best players but who were hindered by a failure to adapt to foreign conditions and adapt to playing under such high levels of pressure put on by the English media.

Qualification: Consistently fantastic. Only lost one game, the final game away in Ukraine after qualification was already done and dusted. A 6-0 win against Andorra seemed normal when compared to two 5-1 wins against Croatia and Kazakhstan, as well as a 4-0 away win at Kazakhstan. These results were accompanied by 3-0's and 4-0's mainly with only two games having a one goal winning margin. This meant that England easily topped their qualification group in first place and have to be considered real contenders for this summers World Cup.

The Team
Strengths: Tactics and organisation are England's biggest strengths. This prevents them from getting caught on the counter attack and they are defensively strong. The Three Lions also have several good quality players in almost every position and have replacements if needed, they also make the most of every chance they get and hardly ever struggle for goals, having scored 34 in ten games in qualification.
Weaknesses: In goal, England have no clear number one and there is a real lack of quality in this position, which could cause a problem. David James is unreliable and inconsistent, although this is improving with age, he's got plenty of it now! Quality is also lacking in the second striker position and of course the old enemy - penalties! In recent times, England have also struggles against stronger opposition; such as Spain, France and Brazil, which could be a problem at a tournament with the 32 strongest teams in the world.
The Manager: Every job Fabio Capello has ever taken has resulted in silverware. Jobs at Milan, Juventus, Roma and Madrid have all brought trophies, although this is usually in leagues, rather than cups, worrying, considering his first job as an international manager is all about cups! Despite this, Fabio has made a fantastic start to the England job, Capello is a disciplined, organised manager who demands respect from his players and always gets it.

Star Men: Wayne Rooney (Manchester United)
Many may say that England without Wayne Rooney aren't even half the team they are with him. Rooney is the only consistent source of goals, having scored 25 goals in 58 England appearances, and almost 40 goals for Manchester United this season. The powerful frontman almost missed out on the 2006 World Cup with a broken metatarsal and there are huge fears over his fitness this time, having had all sorts of injuries from ankle ligaments to muscle strains in recent weeks. England fans are just going to have to hope he recovers and regains fitness in time for June 12th when England face the USA.
Steven Gerrard (Liverpool)
The Liverpool captain and midfield dynamo will go into this World Cup as England vice-captain. Likely to be playing on the left side of a midfield diamond, the Scouser is usually better in the middle of the park but many say that Lampard and Gerrard cannot play together as the two are too similar and Gerrard has excelled while playing on the left for England. Having had a tough season with Liverpool which has led to rumours galore in the tabloids. 16 goals in 78 caps isn't a bad record for a midfielder either, he is also one of few English players to excel under pressure and many will be hoping he will thrive this summer to drive the side onto glory.

manor15's Prediction
Runners-up. This may seem very optimistic, trust me, it is! Let me explain why though; qualification from the group in first place would see them play second in Group D (likely to be Australia or Ghana), should England defeat them they would face most probably either Germany or the USA, should they see off, arguably, the weakest German side in decades, they would most probably face Argentina or France in the semi's, who's disorganisation and weak defence in both camps are completely contrasting to England's, who should win that, and that would leave them facing a final, and let's face it; we won't win it! Fabio Capello's organisation of the side will master most teams while the goals of Rooney, pace of Lennon, drive of Gerrard, passing of Barry and tackling of Ferdinand should be enough to get the Three Lions through to the latter stages.