Why England will win the 2010 World Cup

by Patrick Curry

Wednesday, June 24th, 2009

It is the responsibility of the Great British Press to hype up England’s chances before any major tournament.  Expectation must be raised beyond anything remotely reasonable.  The country must be gripped with fervor and an unswerving certainty that the trophy will be come back to where it belongs.  However, with a little under a year to go until the tournament kicks off and with 7 wins from 7 in qualifying games it seems that the media have been a bit slow on the uptake.  I therefore feel it is my solemn duty to kick start the campaign here and now by highlighting the myriad of reasons why England shall win the World Cup at a stroll and make us all proud…

…Except I couldn’t come up with a myriad.  In fact I couldn’t even come up with 10.  Or 8.  Or even 6 or 7.  So I decided on a more balanced view.  Five reasons why they might win and five reasons why they probably won’t.  Surely I’d be able to do that without scraping the barrel wouldn’t I?

The Top Five Reason Why England Might Win The 2010 World Cup

1) Fabio Capello

The man is a winner.  He has won trophies in Italy.  He has won trophies in Spain.  He has won Leagues.  He has won Cups.  He has won the Champions League.  He knows how to get the job done.  It might not always be pretty but for Fabio it is ultimately the end that justifies the means.

2) We have match winners

Teams that win World Cups have match winners.  Argentina had Maradona, Brazil had Pele, France had Zidane.  You need players who can change games in an instant and on their own.  We have three such examples with Rooney, Gerrard and Walcott – players who have the talent and increasingly the temperament with which to seize big games and make them their own.

3) The back four

If Glen Johnson’s expected move to either Liverpool or Chelsea goes through, by the time the World Cup rolls round he will have had a season of Champions League football under his belt.  Alongside seasoned Big Cup campaigners Cashley, Rio and JT, the back four will have a very solid look to it and great teams are build on great defences.

4) Psycho

Footballers are simple creatures and are able to take inspiration from even the most obvious of sources.  Stuart Pearce may not have had the smooth managerial ride that many hoped for but the current squad will have grown up on his chest thumping, ‘I’m going to explode with pride’ celebration in Euro ’96.  Furthermore, he seems to be grooming a very good Under-21 team and having been to a World Cup semi final himself, his steady influence on the bench alongside Capello could be vital in instilling a spirit and belief that this squad of players can fulfill their potential.

5) Who else is going to do it?

Without being too disparaging and setting myself up for a mighty fall, there’s not a huge amount else out there to be worried about.  Brazil have become functional and defensive under Dunga.  Argentina are faltering badly under Diego after a positive start.  France look shaky and are paying the price for sticking with Domenech.  We’ve already beaten Germany in their own back yard.  Holland are bound to in-fight their way out the tournament at some stage.  Portugal’s mercurial talents don’t have the temperament to take them all the way to the title.  Russia blow hotter and colder than Gareth Barry’s Champions League ambitions while Italy are a bunch of aging hipsters.  As far as one can see there’s not too much to trouble England on their glorious march to glory….

The Top Five Reason Why England Probably Won’t Win The World Cup And Will Make Grown Men Cry (And Fight)

1) Spain

…except the Spanish.  Four teams made the Champions League semi finals.  Three of them were English.  The other was Barca, and we all know what happened there.  The national team taught us a lesson at their place not so long ago and the way Xavi and Iniesta pass and move the ball is light years ahead of any other midfield pairing on the planet.  Add to that a strikeforce of Villa and Torres and an unbeaten record stretching back 34 matches, the last 14 of which have been wins, and it becomes quite clear that they will be the team to beat next summer.

2) We don’t have a decent keeper

A solid back four is only a strength if you have a reliable keeper behind it.  Sadly we don’t and unless someone makes a miraculous run over the coming season it seems this will be our Achilles heel once again.  Carson’s chance came and went.  Robbo has shown his frailties on numerous occasions.  Rob Green was barely tested in the last two qualifiers but has been known to flap at crosses for West Ham.  As for David James, if he goes as first choice then we might as well all book our holidays for after the group stages.


Surely Fabio won’t stand for any of this rubbish will he?  But then they’re used to the highlife, they wear the trousers and more often than not they get their own way.  It was a distraction last time out and if it’s not nipped in the bud at source then the demon WAG circus could rear its ugly head again.  For someone supposedly shy and retiring, Theo Walcott’s better half Melanie Slade gets a lot of column inches and crops up in saucy photo shoots.  Also Rooney will be a dad by this time next year and who can rule out Colleen launching a ‘Baby Shrek’ clothing range or something equally hideous?

4) Strength in depth

Our first eleven on paper can be very good.  The power of Rooney upfront.  Ferdinand’s pace and outstanding reading of the game at the back.  Even bringing Beckham to the party for his range of passing wouldn’t be a terrible idea.  The balance on the left notwithstanding, there are world class players throughout the line-up.  However, dig deeper and things become a bit thin.  Stuart Downing off the bench?  Matthew Upson marshalling Leo Messi?  Doesn’t fill you with confidence if we pick up a few knocks and have to rely on ‘lesser’ squad members.

5) Penalties

Even the most blindly optimistic of England followers must surely concede that the thought of facing anyone on penalties fills them with dread.  It could be in a semi final against Germany or against Ghana in the last 16.  Hell it could even be a charity game against Whipsnade Under 12s.  Whatever the opposition you just expect England to crumble in the face of penalties.  No doubt we’ll have battled against the odds through 120 minutes of blood and sweat and will almost certainly be the more deserving of the two teams to go through.  But we won’t.  Hargreaves will pop off the bench and nonchalantly slot his opening kick in the top corner but then the following four will be shanked against the post, slashed wildly over the bar, slapped tamely against the keeper’s legs, and tragically rolled wide as the keeper dives the wrong way.  It was just not meant to be.

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  • Stevie

    nah, aint gonna happen. Every tournament we suffer from the same problem, bottle. If we win the WC I’ll run down Oxford nude. You have my word!

  • Giuliano di Sagrata

    Ciao Patrick

    Italy a bunch of ageing hipsters, huh? Be careful, caro. You may getta visit from the boys carrying the violin cases!

  • David Akast

    Outstanding post Patrick! I agree 99% but I assure you that Green is top quality – nobody else should even be considered as first choice.

  • dean

    i’m hoping with capello in charge we finally have the mentality to kill off people and actually not bottle it like always. Take our last game for example. Under previous England teams that would have been two, maybe three nil at most. We moy have the balls to keep attacking and not worry about the other teams so much. However, there is always the spain factor like you say and i just can’t see us beating them.

    I also agree with our strength in depth being a problem. Not in defence though. Upson is a quality defender. I’d rate him higher than john terry (just because you put your head where your feet should be due to lack of quality, doesn’t make you a great defender), it’s just the forwards and wingers that worry me. Lennon and Young aren’t good enough yet to win you a world cup, but let’s hope they have a cracking year and take that too south africa with them.

  • dean

    ps. I agree 100% with david on robert green!

  • Kenny Shankly-Paisley

    How many reasons to a myriad these days?

    I’d be delighted to be proved wrong but putting Stevie, Shrek and Walnut in the same bracket as Pele, Maradona and Zidane seems a tad optimistic. I reckon given the right insult Rooney could produce a head butt of comparable quality to Zizou’s though.

    Agree wholeheartedly with Dean’s points about Terry. Making him captain (and therefore difficult to drop) is the only mistake that Capello’s made really.

  • dexylongshot

    I agree on the captaincy, i was egging on Rio but I’m sure Capello had his reasons. Greeno all the way, especially with his good record with penalties. Another reason why I think we will fair a bit better is the weather. It is spring out there and today it 53 and pissing down, excellent british footy weather. How many times have we sagged in the later stages of a game with the heat simply sapping it out of us. Brazil, Portugal (twice). In Germany 06, was 100+F on the pitch for almost every game. Japan was pretty much the same (an exception can be made for the 3-0 against Denmark, it was bucketing down before the match and the temperature cooled, then we gave them an hiding). Our players can’t cope with it as much as the south Americans and med based teams. At least we won’t have that to worry about. As for Fabio, we know what he can do and what he gets out of players…. results. I’ve lost count of how many times have we thrown it away after being the slightly superior team, 90, 96, 98 (10 men), 02 (good 1st half), 04, 06 (10men), In Fabio, we mostly seem to get better as the game progresses, many times with a few small changes in tactics at half time.

  • Giuliano di Sagrata

    Hey Dean yes indeed. Lennon not quite yet but why not in a year’s time? The boy’s got so much to offer. All he needs is for Magical Mr Capello to explain to him that when the ball leaves his boot it should reach a member of his own team, and not the far distant corner flag. And hey presto, we have another match-winner.

  • dexylongshot

    Everyone seems to have forgotten about Joe Cole one of our best performers over the last couple of years before he got injured.

  • http://www.freewebs.com/park-academics-fc Daveyboy

    Will Joe Cole establish himself in the Chelsea team again? I hope Joe is back in the England team soon though, hes a great player.

  • dean

    Good shout dexy! I had actually forgotten about him. But like davey, i don’t think he will get back into the side anytime soon. He has to be in the squad if fit though as he could go on both the right or left flanks. Not a proper winger of course, but will create all day for you.

    And Giuliano, great advice. You should probably send capello an e.mail or something as i can see him passing on your words. Either that or he will show him one of those violin cases you were talking about!

  • David Akast

    The mighty Spain have just lost 2-0 in the Confederations Cup … to the US!

  • Patrick

    I saw that. Quite incredible really. Obviously the run had to end somewehre but I figured it’d be in the final vs Brazil and not against the U.S.

    As for Green I’d say he has a lot to prove still. Apart from looking like a cross between Frodo and Samwise Ganges he’s not had any difficult games at international level so cannot be relied upon to be the answer. Keep him in the as he’s the best we’ve got right now but I remember he flapping a few times last season (against Spurs definitely).

    Joe Cole is class but he’s been out for so long that he may not have enough time to force his way back in to Capello’s thinking in terms of the first team. He’ll surely go as a squad member but I doubt he’ll be in the starting 11 unless injuries kick in.

  • Giuliano di Sagrata

    Well what about Joe Hart between the sticks? He seems to be the man of the moment!

  • Darren

    amazing game, typical England, even when we are were 3-0 up you new we would throw it away. Why did Joe Hart get booked? Bring on the Germans!

  • Giuliano di Sagrata

    Apparently Hart got booked for strolling off his line to have a word with one of the Swedish penalty-takers, before his kick. Sledging? Never! But what a way to get booked …

  • Patrick

    I thought it was very harsh, especially as he misses the final. The same ref booked him for time-wasting earlier in the tournament and that was also unfair. I think that particular ref is a bit of a little Hitler – he booked 11 or 12 players in another earlier match and it wasn’t even dirty. UEFA should look at the situation sensibly and let Hart play the final.

    Looking on to next season, if he has a good season with Birmingham then Hart could well force his way in to England squad. Let’s face it, there is no outstanding keeper so it’s up for grabs.

  • http://www.ukfootballfinder.co.uk Darren

    The US and A are the best team in the world, they beat Spain, and they are on the verge of beating Brazil.

    Go Soccerball, footstrike 2 to zero

  • http://www.ukfootballfinder.co.uk Darren

    i take it back, the U S and A are rubbish…

  • Patrick

    That would’ve been an epic victory but Dunga must’ve given Brazil a rocket at half time. Luis Fabiano looked class. I wonder if Sevilla will be able to hold on to him after the tournament he’s had.

  • dexylongshot

    Fabiano did look good through-out the tournament. I was worried about Spain for next years finals but Brazil are looking tasty. The Argies can whistle for trophy while Maradonna’s in charge.

  • Nev Napier

    If Spain can lose to the USA there is a chance for all of us! But, we will fuck up, paving the way for a shock Hungary win. I’m sick of hearing the same old three lions bullshit, or England’s official sponsor this, only in the Sun that, it’s all bollocks that for a few weeks masks over the fact that England players are over paid bottlers. It’s ok to criticize them when we pick through the mess that was the latest limp effort because the revenue has been generated. If there is a blanket of negative press prior to a major tournament who’s going to buy the Sun’s special edition, the branded footballs, St George flags and World Cup burgers?

    Don’t believe the hype ya’ll, yeah boooy…

  • Tef1on

    Wow… seems i’m late for the party!

  • http://n/a Michael J.Mupereki

    This is the problem with only watching the English Premiership and thinking that the best players in the Premiership are the best in the World.

    1]Glen Johnson is not a good defender, he failed at Chelsea, and did well at bottom side Pompey, then well, gave Arshavin gifts when Arsenal played Liverpool.

    2]England have no goalkeeper, no team has ever won the World Cup with no goalie, none.

    3]The midfield is made up of like players, Lampard and Gerrard do not and cannot play in the same team.

    4]Who are the lethal England Strikers?There is no Ronaldo/Rivaldo Combination or Romario/Beberto Combination.

    5]In truth, the French team that won, had better quality players than the current English side, by a mile, who can be compared to Bathez,Thuram,Zidane, Viera,Pettit?

    6]Gerrard and Lampard- are they really world Class?I do not think so at all, especially if the form in this season is anything to go by.

    7]Capello is a good coach, very good one, but the players are not, right now, Rooney, Terry,Rio, can eb said to be the very good players, the rest are as ordinary as the other teams will bring and this will be England’s Archilles heels

    Sorry, that is the truth as it is.

  • http://www.countdowntokickoff.co.uk countdown to kickoff

    We have a similar debate on our fan site – most of our fans saying putting money on Spain and Italy – why not England? do we have no faith in our own talent?


  • http://www.premierfootballsouvenirs.co.uk Lou

    Joe Cole should go to the world cup, to leave him out would be a big mistake; my big worry is penalties, Frank Lampard, probably the best penalty taker in the world right now is probably due for a big miss ……. wait for it!

  • Dexylongshot

    Just been looking at this post from 11 months bacK. A lot of it is still very valid especially with the views on hart. I think he will get a start in the friendlies in a fortnight. I hope Adam Johnson and Parker get a game too, with Hargreaves looking forward to his hols and a big question mark over Barry, who’s going to to be there when it comes to doing all the dirty work in midfield? Parker has got to be considered.

  • Patrick

    Yeah, good shout from Giuliano for Joe Hart the best part of a year ago. I think he’s got to be close to the first 11 based on this season’s form.

    My Spurs head would love T Hudd to get the nodd as he is more creative than Scott Parker but obviously Capello wants someone with some grit in midfield and without Hargreaves, Parker can provide cover in that role if Barry is not fit.

    King should definitely go. No question about that. Some bright spark at my work was bemoaning Sol Campbell not being in the squad. Any thoughts?

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