World Cup Profile: England
Might this be the starting XI?
Familiar ground now - the England team. They always promise so much, then deliver something frustrating. Can they go all the way this year? And, more importantly, who ARE these people? Read on to find out…
Well, the famous 30 years of hurt is now more like 44. England won the tournament in 1966, made the semi final in 1990, but have managed pretty much sod all in between and since. That said, they have looked pretty solid under Capello, and enjoyed a relatively painless qualification process. Hence, the third favourites behind Spain and Brazil, with odds to win at around 7/1 on Betfair.
Classic World Cup Moment
Owen’s goal against Argentina in 1998 was very special, but for iconic moments, it has to be Hurst’s hat-trick goal in the 1966 final…
Much of the weight of expectation will sit on Rooney’s shoulders, and if he continues with this season’s high standards, he’ll be a force to be reckoned with. But he needs a good show from the midfield, so Lampsie and Stevie G will need big tournaments to bring out the best in him. Rooney is the third favourite to top score, with decent odds of around 12/1 on Betfair.
Working Class Hero
All over the country, violent looking street kids can be found merrily hoofing balls around council estates, and generally keeping out of trouble. This is mainly thanks to Wayne Rooney. Raised in Liverpool’s Croxteth – or Crocky to its friends – he presumably spent his childhood playing keepy-uppy with old bits of rubble, and bricks that had been used as makeshift car wheels. An example to us all.
On the other end of the spectrum is Frank Lampard, who certainly knows how to put the “oi oi” in hoity toity. Unlike most of his football peers, Lampsie was educated at a lovely private school, where he excelled in Latin classes. Were this a reimagining of the classic 1980s peasant-girl-meets-lord-of-the-manor romp, Pretty in Pink, Lamps would be that unbelievable posho, Steff (below)…
For a country with such a rich and expansive language, the English do not excell when it comes to crafting excellent nicknames. They tend to be bitter and derogatory – ie. Cashley Cole – or just plain lazy – ie. JT. So, it’ll probably have to be Wazza (Wayne Rooney), which simply finds Paul Gascoigne’s football moniker Gazza replaced with a lazy “W”. Must try harder.
Missing in Action
Likely to feel particularly hurt with their World Cup omission are: Bobby Zamora, Gabby Agbonlahor, Owen Hargreaves, Ashley Young, Wes Brown, Gary Neville, and Stewart Downing. But, frankly, Capello hasn’t done a bad job. He named the right names, for the most part. He clearly just doesn’t like Aston Villa very much.
Strengths and Weaknesses
Under Capello, England look pretty strong. They’re certainly more organised than before. On the downside, they don’t seem to have a first choice keeper, and when they’re not firing on all cylinders, they can look pretty pedestrian. Players like Lennon, Rooney, and Gerrard will need to hit top form if they want to pull something magnificent out of the bag.
Current Number One in England
Roll Deep, Good Times
To show your support…
England fans know the routine pretty well by now. Hit the pub for a bit of lunch, get a few pints down before kick off, shout at anyone who blocks your view, and sarcatically applaud if anyone clumsily drops their glass during a silent bit. Engerland, Engerland, Engerland etc…
Most blatant use of sex to sell football…
Abbey Clancy tries on a lady’s version of the England kit. Phwoar!
If Capello were a movie character, he would be…
Gordon Gekko. Of course, when Capello speaks, his words can get rather lost in translation, but don’t be fooled – this man is a winning machine. He’s done it all, and yet still he remains hungry for more, rarely smiles, and never relaxes. Almost exactly like Michael Douglas in Wall Street (who is also a bit like Jose Mourinho).
The Spoiler predicts: If things go well, semi finalists.