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England Has What It Takes To Emerge From Italy, Uruguay and Costa Rica Group

England manager Roy Hodgson didn’t want to go to Manaus, but he will in the first group game against Italy (Saturday, June 14, 9pm ET). The Azzurri under Cesare Prandelli have to be considered a strong contender to advance deep into this World Cup. Uruguay’s uneven qualifying campaign notwithstanding, getting by them will be difficult for England.  Uruguay has performed exceptionally well in their last two major tournaments, the 2010 World Cup and 2011 Copa America which they won.

England is not as weak as many in the British Press would lead fans to believe. This is a side not only with experienced professionals, but an ability to counter attack efficiently and to adapt tactically to different styles and formations. Squad depth is improving and young players are being effectively mixed into the side.

Since getting the job right before the Euro 2012 tournament, Hodgson has been attacked relentlessly for producing dour, uninspiring football. These critics constantly harp on how England should be slicker in their passing football and more attack oriented. But the reality is England came through arguably the toughest qualifying group in UEFA by pragmatically maximizing results and playing to the squad’s strengths. This has come at the same time as Hodgson has blended in critical youth such as Andros Townsend and Alex Oxlade-Chamberlain into a team that can play well on the break. This will be critical in a group featuring a side like Italy, with an evolving more passing oriented side under Prandelli and Uruguay who maintain possession well.

To be perfectly objective, I don’t see a lot of cracks in this England side. Playing organized and tight as Hodgson insists on playing means England will be competitive in every game next summer in Brazil. No other national side on the planet has the pace and ability to counter the way England does. Townsend’s development just adds to that, giving England additional cover for Theo Walcott who like so many Arsenal players is injury prone. If England can keep Michael Carrick fit, reaching the World Cup semi-finals will not be out of the question. People’s personal preferences dictate slick football with nice passing. But England can play a different way, some would say “negative,” but I would say different — plus indigenous and progressive in its own way.

It won’t be easy but England does have a route out of this seemingly daunting group. Should the Three Lions emerge this tough group, it could be the crowning achievement on a stellar yet under-appreciated management career for Roy Hodgson.

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12 Comments

12 Comments

  1. Jeff

    December 7, 2013 at 10:47 pm

    What a joke this article is.

    England aren’t even as good as Costa Rica. Everyone see how well Oviedo is playing for Everton lately?

    They are already making excuses about the heat and humidity in Brazil.

    England will be as a disastrous as France was in the last World Cup with an equally vapid and ineffective manager.

  2. Felix

    December 7, 2013 at 2:18 am

    This summer: Suarez goes to Real Madrid. Suarez scores a hattrick and sends England out of World Cup.

  3. Mufc77

    December 6, 2013 at 9:12 pm

    Good to know it will be a short tournament for all the English players after a long league season.

  4. Brian

    December 6, 2013 at 3:58 pm

    Suarez, Cavani, Balotelli, and Ruiz will make Joseph Hart looks silly.

    • Dust

      December 6, 2013 at 7:43 pm

      They will make Cahill & Jagielka look ridiculous way before anyone will be able to blame Hart.

      Gerrard in midfield LOL…

  5. BD

    December 6, 2013 at 3:53 pm

    Kartik,

    I didn’t realize Gaffer allowed you to do get drunk before writing your articles. Man, I wish I could do that in my job….

  6. goatslookshifty

    December 6, 2013 at 3:31 pm

    In top form, England can beat anyone, let alone get out of this group. I know it’s easy to be pessimistic (sp) with England (god knows I usually am)but with the lower expectations, they are fully capable of progressing. Italy tend to start slow and notwithstanding Cavani and Suarez, Uruguay are obviously an average team of players.
    Will England win? No. They could get the 16 and maybe quarters though.

    • rory

      December 6, 2013 at 3:47 pm

      I like our chances to move on. Italy is way superior technically,but we can get points off the Latin sides. Uruguay won’t be the side of 2010 even with Cavani & Suarez.That team had Forlan & Lugano as its leaders. I’m betting on Suarez melting down chomping on someone’s leg or something

  7. Flyvanescence

    December 6, 2013 at 3:01 pm

    To answer your headline: no they dont.

  8. Smokey Bacon

    December 6, 2013 at 2:55 pm

    I’m admire your optimism and I agree in general with your assessment of England as a team. But this is one tough ask. Our only hope is if England raise their game to reflect the level of opposition. They certainly won’t be complacent and underdog status in the first two games will suit us. A win over Italy would be massive. I can’t see us beating Uruguay who for me are dark horses for the tournament. We may need Costa Rica to play spoiler to get through.

  9. M Owen

    December 6, 2013 at 2:53 pm

    Are you serious with this?

    there is no way England will get out of this group.
    Suarez hand balls a goal to kick England out will be poetic justice lol

  10. Steve

    December 6, 2013 at 2:36 pm

    I just can’t see England getting out of this group. Too much attacking talent for Italy and Uruguay and players like Kyle Walker will be exposed.

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