When considering all the possible draw scenarios, there were not many options better than this that were available for England. Since there was a decent chance that England would be paired with either France, Portugal or a strong African side, there were no complaints when the draw revealed Algeria, Slovenia and the USA. Maximum points will be expected from these three matches as England seek to end their 44 year wait for World Cup glory. The first match against the United States will set the tone for the whole of England’s campaign. A good start should hopefully lead the way to comfortable victories over the other two teams before the knock out stages.
Assuming England do qualify at the top of the group, they are likely to face the runners up in Group D. There is no likely opponent as Australia, Ghana and Serbia will all be vying for qualification most probably behind Germany. However, England would be confident of defeating any of them three sides. The quarter finals, where England have crashed out most often in recent memory, is likely to see a battle against the underachieving French. At the same time, they could just as easily face Argentina if Maradona’s men fail to qualify at the top of their group. If you dare to look as far as the semi finals, England would be seeded to play either Brazil or the Netherlands.
Over the last year, Fabio Capello has been assembling a promising looking squad in preparation for the World Cup in June. Injuries will dictate whether any unexpected names make the squad but if everybody is fit, Capello probably knows 18/19 of his 23 man party. Below is a shortlist of players who could make the squad with the near certainties bolded.
Shaun Wright Phillips
There is little doubt that England have their best chance of winning a major tournament for some time under Fabio Capello. Quite possibly, this is the final time the so called “golden generation” will be selected for a tournament and they will want to go out on a high. Although England’s discipline is much improved, I still think they are just a little bit short of the quality needed to win a World Cup. If the draw is favourable and the likes of Brazil and Spain suffer shock exits, they might do it. However, if the seeds remain, I can see England falling to Brazil in the Semi finals.