The 2014 World Cup is on everyone’s lips, and come December 6th we will all know which countries we will be facing to get out of the Groups and into the Knockout stage. Knowing that Portugal, France, Holland and Italy are unseeded teams and we will definitely have to face a Top Seed in our Group, we could be in for a very testing World Cup campaign. We at FootballDons, are realists. Glass is always half full with us, but we are realistic in our own clubs teams chances and success, and also our countries.
Unbeaten, but not convincing is the summary we can think of for England’s qualification campaign. They did the job in what had potential to be a tricky group. But then on the flip side, it wasn’t a tricky group. It was against European teams that do not have the quality that we possess in our squad coming to Wembley and parking the bus. Yes, that makes things difficult, but we have some brilliant players who should be able to find a way through and a way to break down these teams.
However, a mixture of expected wins, hard fought away draws and good wins when needed has seen us through to Brazil. Phase 1 complete. Phase 2, the actual World Cup. There are teams out there who are genuinely now a lot better than us. The Belgium’s, Uruguay’s and Colombia’s are all teams that can’t be taken lightly. They possess fantastic quality and probably faced much less pressure from the media than we do. We don’t have the supposed ‘Golden Generation’ that we once had, but what did they do for us? Not much. The team we are looking to assemble before June 2014 will have a good balance of experience and youthful exuberance. We hope there is a fine array of creative, hungry youth though. Element of surprise and no fear for the rest of the World.
We have already begun commenting on what we think the squad might be based on current form and selections here, but clearly there is still a long way to go, injuries to be had, new contenders to surface and players to seriously drop with form. With all that to do with external influences, we can consider that our current squad has a mixture of well nurtured internationals such as Gerrard, Cole, Lampard, Rooney and Hart. Then alongside these players there are places up for grabs on the wings and alongside Rooney. Players looking to fill these positions will be Wilshere, Walcott, Townsend, Sturridge, Lallana and Barkley. Exciting prospects we think, but ones that could shine on the biggest stage of all? That will remain to be seen.
In goal, we all want Joe Hart to rediscover his finest form to be a reliable source in between the sticks. At the back the recent injuries to Cole and Johnson have seen mixed fortunes for the back up full backs. Baines has excelled and now is a genuine contender for the rest of the season with Cole. However, Walker has only highlighted his defensive frailties. In the middle Jagielka and Cahill look solid, but solid enough to lead our backline against the best attacking forces in the World? We shall see.
In midfield, it will all depend on formation. If we play 3 in the middle with attacking wingers, it could be a combination of Gerrard, Carrick and Wilshere. If it’s 4-4-2 the two in the middle will probably be Gerrard and the other is up for grabs. On the wings Townsend is certainly pushing for a place out there, but with Walcott sidelined at the moment, we always see him as a starter with his pace being a great asset for these competitions. Welbeck has also featured out wide and has a good scoring record for England. However, we’d rather see some exciting, skilful pace on our attacking flanks if we’re to go for those formations. Other players that could squeeze into these positions are Lallana on the wide flank, Ravel Morrison for a late dash as an attacking midfielder, and Barkley being the AMC in a 4-2-3-1 formation. We think if you let Gerrard and Carrick sit, let the others ahead be the free, flair players they are for their club, we could be onto something.
Up front we have Mr Roondog who we are all praying doesn’t get a serious injury, or any injury infact in the build up to the World Cup. Likewise with Sturridge. We could really do well if Sturridge is firing like he has been so far this season. A talent waiting to blow, and let’s admit it, we’d all love to see that dance in Brazil! Other options are Lambert who we see as an attacking sub to throw up there and cause havoc, Defoe who will always be a poacher but needs more games, and Welbeck. A lot will depend on formation with what strikers will be starting, but a World Cup that doesn’t have high expectations should surely tee us up nicely for the mindset that we have nothing to lose and we should just go for it.
We are under no illusions that the teams in the World Cup are no longer as varied as they used to be. We could probably name 5 potential winners, but 5 potential outsiders. Countries are improving, and with how many foreign players are exported to the biggest and best leagues around the world, all of their players are playing on the biggest club stage. With this in mind, we have to realise that we are no longer the nation that other countries fear. We can be beaten, we can be attacked and outclasses, but all we want to see is the quality we see every weekend in the Premier League with an absolute die hard passion from 11 blokes playing for their country.
This World Cup has already being pre-warned as part of a longer strategy for England’s National Team with a realistic view at the World Cup 2022 in Qatar. However, it is still a World Cup, we are still English and we still want to succeed. We would probably prefer going under the radar with less pressure than normal looking to be underdogs. Having the perspective of going into World Cups where we’re more expecting rather than hoping. Now we are hoping for success. Gerrard knows what pain feels like for England. He knows what it’s like to expect success for England along with the whole country so will play on this with the rest of the squad of what needs to be done to avoid that.
Overall, we could end up facing Brazil, USA and Ghana in a Group as they are all in different pots, however, we could end up with Switzerland, Iran and Algeria. Either way, getting out of the Group Stage has to be our first realistic goal. If we do, brilliant, job well done. Then we can begin to dream. We will need desire as much as luck for our road to continue for as long as possible in Brazil. Luck being something English football fans are not familiar with.
We expect nothing more than 110% for every minute of every game. Maybe not as much quality as some of the other countries, but we want to see our team fight for every ball throughout. If we bring the right youth with our squad they have every chance of proving their worth out in Brazil and playing with no fear to propel our country into a new phase of National Football recovery.
Our realistic prediction – 2nd Round