Monday, 28 June 2010

A Look At The World Cup: Part Two

Holland vs Slovakia



The Dutch side haven’t really hit top form yet, but managed to overcome Denmark 2-0, a very tidy and hardworking Japan side 1-0 and the disappointing Cameroon side 2-1. Players such as Wesley Sneijder and Robin Van Persie have been vital for the Dutch side, helping them top the group with 9 points, scoring five goals and conceding just the one solitary goal.

Key Man

Wesley Sneijder

The Inter Milan midfielder has shown no signs of fatigue from his treble winning season in Italy, and has been instrumental in the midfield five, playing behind Robin Van Persie. Sneijder has an excellent long range shot, world class technique, the ability to unlock a defence and great passing ability.



The Slovakian side showed they were a very good side, who were unlucky to concede a late goal against New Zealand in the opening game to draw 1-1, while they lost to an impressive Paraguay 2-0, but Vladimir Weiss’s men produced the biggest upset by beating and knocking out the reigning and defending World Champions 3-2 in the final group game.

Key Man

Robert Vittek

The 28 year old striker built his career with 5 years at Nuremberg in Germany, before playing in France with Lille, and he now plays for Turkish side Ankaragucu. He has scored 22 goals in 72 international matches, and has been deadly at this year’s tournament, scoring 3 goals in 3 games, scoring a brace against Italy in the process. If Slovakia get a chance in the game, expect Vittek to be clinical in his finishing.


As Slovakia have shown, they are capable of causing an upset, but the Netherlands are no mugs so far at this tournament and more importantly haven’t started their most impressive player; Arjen Robben, in any of the matches. With this in mind I can’t look past Bert Van Marwijk’s men winning 3-1.

Brazil vs Chile



A squad that came to South Africa, seemingly under the radar, without any real major expectations or pressure on them, which for me is a big mistake as they are the genuine contenders to win the World Cup. Brazil coach Dunga left star players Ronaldinho, Pato and Adriano at home while the likes of Kleberson returning, while Grafite and Ramires both appear at their first World Cup; fresh blood to freshen up the Brazilian side. This campaign has started ominously for the competition with Brazil topping the “group of death” ahead thanks to wins over Ivory Coast and North Korea, and a draw with Portugal.

Key Man

Luis Fabiano

The striker is a definitely as his peak right now, and has been for the past few years, and is the newly established Brazil number 9. He has 27 goals in 41 appearances for Brazil, and scored 2 goals in all 3 group games. Another clinical striker in the tournament, with power and pace, and has the benfifit of playing with creative players such as Kaka, Robinho, Maicon and Elano.



Chile are a personal favourite of mine, and one of the most attacking teams in the tournament, coach Marco Bielsa is one of the best and most respected managers in South America and has began receiving the plaudits for his team performances. A poor performance against Spain aside, Chile beat Honduras 1-0 and Switzerland 1-0 to book their place in the second round.

Key Man

Alexis Sanchez

The Udinese winger has already caught the eye of many football fans with his performances in South Africa, but has been causing a stir for quite a while now. He has 11 goals in 32 caps and is expected to be Brazil’s main threat when the two meet.


In the South American qualifying campaign, Brazil and Chile met twice; with the five time World Champions winning 4-2 and 3-0 respectively. The Chile side attacking they may be, lost their head in the match against Spain and threw away any chance of a victory with some poor decision and sill bookings. For this reason, I cannot look past a Brazil victory. They met in the 1998 World Cup at the same stage, and the Brazil side won that day with two goals apiece from Ronaldo and Cesar Sampaio consigned Chile to a 4-1 defeat.

Stay tuned for Part Three

Real Talk Football

Saturday, 26 June 2010

A Look At The World Cup: Part One

With the World Cup now taking centre stage in the sporting world, it's clear that everyone's eyes are solely fixed on their respective nations matches and players, while the fans and media are scrutinising every managers tactics and every decision.

Now the world's premier sports competition has reached its most exciting part, the knockout phases, there are just 16 teams left in the competition, with 16 teams on the plane back home (including 2006 finalist's France and winners Italy).

Let's look at the second round line up:

Uruguay VS South Korea



The Uruguayans finished top of Group A, with two wins against South Africa and Mexico, while drawing on the opening night of the tournament against France. The Uruguayans impressed many in the group stages with their attacking prowess and the front three combination of Luis Suarez, Edison Cavani and key man Diego Forlan. Also dont discount the no nonsense defending from Diego Lugano and Diego Godin, plus the safe hands of Fernando Muslera helped Uruguay qualify without conceding a goal.

Key Man

Diego Forlan

The Athletico Madrid hitman has had another excellent in Spain, and has managed to transfer this form onto the international scene. He has played all 3 games so far, scoring two goal and was voted man of the match for his performances against South Africa and France. He could be the difference on the day.

South Korea


The South Koreans somewhat failed to live up to the 2002 hype at the previous tournament, but make no mistake they have definitely been one of the most consistent and efficient teams on display at this years competition. They finished runners up in their group behind Argentina, after beating Greece and earning a somewhat lucky draw with Nigeria. The only blemish in the group was a 4-1 defeat to Argentina.

Key Man

Park Ji-Sung

The Manchester United midfielder is the key man for the national side, and his performances so far have done nothing but increase his reputation as a very hard working and professional individual. I have been very impressed with him so far, and believe he is an excellent leader of the South Korean squad.


I believe Uruguay are the favourites for this match, and will duly deliver. The South Korean's were heavily beaten by the last South American side they faced, and Uruguay play a similar attacking style to the Argentines, and the front three should be too much for Park Ji-Sung's team to handle. Uruguay 2-0 winners.

USA vs Ghana



The American's comfortably topped Group C, although they left it quite late against Algeria to collect the top spot. Another hard working team, which are very resolute although not being the best technical team, but that American tenacity is what has helped them fight back to earn draws with England and Slovenia, and win the group.

Key Man

Clint Dempsey

England fans will be familiar with Dempsey, not only because he helped Fulham reach the Europa League final, but it was his tame shot that Robert Green spilt into the net in the opening group game. The big bustling striker can cause the Ghana defence problems with his agility and technique, while shutting down his attempts on goal is a must.



What can be said about the Ghana team? The most effective and complete African team in the competition, they seem to have a strong sturdy defence, solid goalkeeper, hard working midfield, attacking flair, but the only thing missing is that goalscorer.

Key Man

Asamoah Gyan

Asamoah Gyan has been excellent so far, scoring two penalties, but he cannot do it all alone. He needs a bit more help upfront, and the Ghanaian attackers need to take their chances if they are to advance. Gyan has impressed many with his agility, pace and skill. He is a very good player, and can cause the USA defence many problems.


The Ghana team had many chances against Germany, and still lost, and against a ten man Australia, only drawing. However Ghana are a very good collective unit and should be able to beat the USA team as long as they take their chances. 1-1 Ghana win 2-1 after extra time.

Germany vs England



The German side impressed with an opening 4-0 win over ten man Australia, but subsequently lost to Serbia 1-0, and then struggled to overcome a stubborn Ghana side, eventually winning 1-0. The German's attacking is not what people are use to seeing and it has come at somewhat of a shock, but it has somewhat subsided in the last two games. If they regain this form, they can succeed, and beat the English.

Key Man

Miroslav Klose

The German striker is one of the top goalscorers in World Cup finals history, and continued impressing by scoring in the first game. However the 32 year old was sent off in the second game against Serbia for two yellow cards and missed the win against Ghana. He will now be rested and raring to make up for lost time against England. Linking up with Mesut Ozil, will be a deadly combination and one which could damage Fabio Capello's men.



A terrible stuttering first two games in the group, with a needlessly shaky last 20 minutes in the final match made the England term look.. well.. Very English. Poor performances, then one good performance and England have done the hard part, getting out of a relatively easy group. Now they can play with no pressure, and take on an old foe.

Key Man

John Terry

The Chelsea defender has been rock solid for England, and I'm starting to gain a little bit of respect back for the double winning captain. He will need to give his all, as he always does, for the team when they face the Germans in order to combat the free flowing football they have displayed so far. Also of just importance is the goalkeeper David James, who has made the side look a lot more safe and secure with him behind the defence.


A battle with the Germans is billed as the big match game, but the English media have not been hyping the match as previous games so far, for the simple reason; the English are the underdogs. This is probably the smartest way to approach the game, as England are underdogs and there is less pressure on them. England to win 1-0 in full time, Wayne Rooney goal.

Argentina vs Mexico



Despite an awful qualifying campaign, Argentina popped up out of nowhere to become everyone's favourite's to collect the trophy once they saw Diego Maradona's attacking options. Diego Milito of Inter Milan, Gonzalo Higiuan of Real Madrid, Martin Palermo of Boca Juniors, Carlos Tevez of Man City, Sergio Aguero of Athleico Madrid and of course Lionel Messi of Barcelona. They finished top of Group B, beating Nigeria, South Korea (convincingly) and Greece to finish the group with maximum points, scoring seven goals and only conceding one goal.

Key Man

Lionel Messi

Currently the best player in the world, he has performed very well in this World Cup so far without really hitting top form. Expect him to unlock a defence if need be, and being single handily able to win a game when required.



In a group whereby after the first round of games, it seemed anyone could top it, the Mexicans drew with the host nations South Africa in the opening game, then took advantage of a terrible France team to win 2-0 to book their place in the second round. A final game defeat to Uruguay prevented the Mexicans from topping the group.

Key Man

Giovanni Dos Santos

The young Tottenham player has failed to live up to the hype he received while playing at Barcelona, but started this World Cup really impressively and has used his attacking flair and ability for fashion many chances for the front two.


2-1 Argentina win. Mexico are a tricky outfit, and could definitely cause an upset as they have met Argentina many times, and have somewhat of a good understanding of the South Americans. But scoring is not something which Gullie Franco, Carlos Vela and Javier Hernandez have done freely at this tournament. While I believe Argentina could be got at defensively, the attacking prowess should see them through.

Stay tuned for Part Two, which will come on Monday.


Sunday, 13 June 2010

The Madness of Raymond Domenech

“It is almost a beautiful 0-0. But the result is what it is. They were good, solid in defence."

These simple words, used by France nation team coach; Raymond Domenech, after his side limped to a 0-0 draw against ten man Uruguay in their World Cup Group A match on Friday. A game which in fact Les Bleus seemingly dominated, leading the way on attempts on goal; ten compared to Uruguay’s three, possession; 57% compared to Uruguay’s 43%, and in other areas such as corners and free kicks.

Although France dominated the stats on the night, it was made abundantly clear that France lack the required potential, or firepower to beat teams, let alone cause Uruguay any real concern. This subsequently highlighted the belief that the French team are still stuck in the past, lacklustre and the fact that a team with the array of talents can ultimately fail to overpower a ten man team with only two real quality players, would consequently highlight my belief that the France team have somewhat of a clueless and outdated manager in charge.

Before the start of the World Cup, Domenech made some very strange decisions when selecting his 23 man squad for the trip to South Africa. Most noticeably leaving out Arsenal’s Samir Nasri; who arguably had his best season at the Emirates this year and was one of the Gunners best players this year. Also the rejuvenated Senegalese-born, 33 year old, French legend Patrick Vieira; who left the comfort of the Inter Milan substitutes bench, to return to the Premier League and play for Manchester City, was also left out of the squad. Finally and most noticeably is the somewhat harsh treatment of striker Karim Benzema. The 22 year old joined Real Madrid for €35 million from French side Olympique Lyonnaise, but he struggled to make a consistent impact in Madrid, mainly due to the outstanding form of Gonzalo Higuian and Cristiano Ronaldo, as well as niggling injuries, leaving him to score just 8 goals in 27 appearances. This was deemed insufficient enough for a place on the plane, with Lyon’s Sidney Govou and Djibril Cisse of Panathinaikos in his place.

In the past, the 58 year old has been no stranger to odd selection decisions. It was believed that he left out Robert Pires, who in his prime at Arsenal was left out of the EURO 2004 squad as rumours surfaced that it was believed Domenech’s apparent Astrological beliefs and subsequent “distrust of Scorpio’s” led to his omission from the squad. Domenech then fell out with the man picked ahead of Pires in the squad (Vikash Dhorosoo) leading to the then Lyon player to retire from international football. Similar cases of strange exclusions include leaving both Nicholas Anelka and Champions League winning Barcelona star Ludovic Guily out of the 2006 squad, along with the established AS Roma centre back Philippe Mexes. In 2008, he left out one of the best French strikers in Europe, the in-form Djibril Cisse for the untested at international level Bafetmbi Gomis for the EURO 2008 squad.

Even before the teams first game at this year’s World Cup, Domenech’s troubles began with the French sports minister; Rama Yade highlighted his distaste for the national side’s selection of a 5-star hotel, stating how Domenech would be held accountable for the teams poor performance, if they got to comfortable in their surroundings. Again the causes for concern was highlighted with the French team were seen taking part in a selection of “team building exercises” including buggy riding and cycling, which were recorded by the press and freely used on sports channels. The lack of discipline within the team is evidently when seeing these activities, while adding unnecessary risk to players, no more so then Arsenal’s William Gallas, who is deemed a vital player to the side, arising unscathed from an accident involving his buggy which had toppled over.

Again another problem, arising from the subsequent lack of discipline ever more plain to see amongst this year’s squad, is a story which is believed to be that there is now “disruption” and “revolt” within the camp, as Chelsea star Florent Malouda fell out with the coach before the game over a disagreement at Malouda’s overzealous training, as well as Domenech’s decision to play two holding midfielders (Diaby and Toulalon) rather than the Chelsea man. Then giving Domenech more team issues, aside of a 1-0 defeat to relative football minnows China, a talk of a “revolt” had been highlighted in many of the morning newspapers, and surrounding press, arising from the decision to instil Manchester United left back Patrice Evra as national team captain, rather than the popular 32 year old Barcelona striker Thierry Henry. These examples highlight the poor pre-tournament preparation from Domenech and his staff for France’s conquest onto the World’s biggest football competition. This lack of preparation and consequent disruption has been carried onto the pitch, and was palpably clear in the mediocre performance against Uruguay, the Frenchman now more than ever needs to get a grip of his squad, and the big characters involved it.

The French side before the game, on paper looks good enough to compete with any of the top teams in the World. The side started with Hugo Lloris in goal, Bacary Sagna, Eric Abidal, William Gallas and Captain Patrice Evra in defence. Arsenal midfielder Abou Diaby and Lyon midfielder Jeremy Toulalan in the holding midfield, Franck Ribery on the left with the talented Gourcuff on the right with Sidney Govou and Anelka upfront. A solid, experience and technically gifted team, that should be able to pass or play their way through any team in the World Cup, and with all respect a team such as Uruguay, off the pitch. However it was evidently clear within 15 minutes of the match, they were no real nerves from the French nor were there any real concern for the opponents they were facing, but there was a distinct lack of enthusiasm and excitement from the French side to even collect all three points.

During the game, with Uruguayan substitute Nicolas Lodeiro sent off after less than 10 minutes on the pitch, Domenech decided to leave 30 year old forward Sidney Govou on the pitch, as he took off Chelsea’s in-form Nicholas Anelka off for the out of favour Thierry Henry. A decision which baffled many, as Govou’s poor performance was evident for all to see. Subsequent baffling decisions included bring on 6ft 2in centre forward Andre-Pierre Gignac, and playing on the right wing position of the front three while the likes of Florent Malouda was placed as a supporting striker, situated behind Thierry Henry, and Franck Ribery on the left. Is it just me or does this make absolutely no sense. Surely a big powerful centre forward would be better situated upfront next to Henry, with Malouda on the left and Ribery on the right? But for some reason, Domenech’s players looked confused and unsure of where they were playing or even what the tactics were, it seems Domenech’s confused managerial choices had spilt onto the pitch, and confused the players.

Is it unfair to base the France team’s chances on this performance? Or is it just the nerves of playing on the first day of this major tournament hindering their performance? With the experienced and talented individuals on show, it would be unlikely to believe nerves would get the better of a team like this. Let’s not forget France stuttered their way into the finals finishing second in the qualifiers, and beating the Republic of Ireland in the playoffs thanks to the “hand of Henry”. It would seem that France have been out of form for since EURO 2008, all under the guidance of Domenech.

Is this talk of revolt and dispute over the captaincy means that the big names in the dressing room are causing a divide having subsequently losing faith in the manager; it looks more and more like it doesn’t really bother Domenech! And that fact that former Girondins de Bordeaux manager; Laurent Blanc has already agreed to take over. Therefore there is no real pressure on Domenech to get the French national team to perform nor would it seem there is any motivation for success, something which now visibly displayed on the pitch. Is the enthusiasm and excitement shown on the touchlines by other managers such as Joachim Low of Germany and Diego Maradona of Argentina that which is needed? Definitely, but the sooner the 58 year old leaves, the quicker the France national team can get the fresh start it needs, the sooner the French fans can dream of success in the near future.

Saturday, 5 June 2010

Can England Really Win The World Cup?

Now that the dust has settled on Tuesday’s team selection, England fans can endlessly discuss the many options now available, the possible team selection, who should be number one goalkeeper, who can fill the right midfield slot and all other things that manager Fabio Capello has to consider before England’s opening World Cup game against the USA on June 12th.

Looking at the team, it would seem to me, that Capello selected a 30 squad in which the seven players who were eventually dropped from the side, were those who if selected, would have been the surprise inclusions, rather than surprise exclusions. Any hint of a surprise was then removed from the equation; a collective unit has therefore been established, while the players previous experience of playing with each other in previous tournaments, a somewhat substantial factor in his selections.

By no means do I wish to convey this hint of negativity, or criticise English fans hopes of winning the World Cup, but isn’t it slightly embarrassing that England are already considered amongst the favourites for the World Cup? Surely you have to reach the latter stages of major tournaments, every two years, in order to be considered amongst the favourites for the title, no matter how well the team has qualified?

I mean let’s look at the tests England have face in the past 2 years, taking into account the subsequent “favourites” expected to challenge for the World Cup trophy:

26/03/2008 Friendly – France 1 – 0 England
19/11/2008 Friendly – Germany 1 – 2 England
11/02/2009 Friendly – Spain 2 – 0 England
12/08/2009 Friendly – Netherlands 2 – 2 England
14/11/2009 Friendly – Brazil 1 – 0 England

Although friendly’s used to be deemed as “practice” or “experiments”, under Capello it’s evidently clear that friendly’s are just as important as qualifiers, and the above is proof that against some of the major sides in the World, England just do not cut it.

Therefore teams such as Germany, France, Brazil and Italy should be considered as the favourites for these tournaments. Why you ask? Because they have the big tournament pedigree, and are renowned for delivering what is expected of them. To prove this, we can compare the five team’s performances over previous tournaments to give an understanding why.

Let’s look at the last eight major competitions including European Championships (obviously excluding Brazil) and at the World Cup.

1994 – World Cup 94 USA

Brazil: Winners
Italy: Runners-up
Germany: Quarter Final
England: Did not qualify
France: Did not qualify

1996 – Euro 96 England

Germany: Winners
England: Semi-finals
France: Semi-finals
Italy: Group stage

1998 – World Cup 98 France

France: Winners
Brazil: Runners-up
Italy: Quarter-finals
Germany: Quarter-finals
England: Round of 16/Second round

2000 – Euro 2000 Belgium/Netherlands

France: Winners
Italy: Runners-up
England: Group Stage
Germany: Group stage

2002 – World Cup 2002 Korea/Japan

Brazil: Winners
Germany: Runners-up
England: Quarter-finals
Italy: Round of 16/Second round
France: Group stage

2004 – Euro 2004 Portugal

England: Quarter-finals
France: Quarter-finals
Germany: Group stage
Italy: Group stage

2006 – World Cup 2006 Germany

Italy: Winners
Brazil: Runners-up
Germany: Third Place
England: Quarter-finals
France: Runners-up

2008 – Euro 2008 Austria/Switzerland

Germany: Runners-up
Italy: Quarter-finals
France: Group Stage
England: Did not qualify

This recent history shows that Germany, Brazil and Italy are the clear powerhouses of World football, continuously getting to the latter stages of competitions and ultimately competing for the title. England however tend be there in the mix, but are unable to cause a real stir in any of the major competitions. Why is this? Is it the lack of discipline amongst the players from the coaches? i.e.; Glenn Hoddle, Graeme Taylor. Maybe it’s the lack of penalty takers, i.e.; David Batty, Gareth Southgate, Jamie Carragher and so on. Or maybe it’s just that the England side were just not good enough; consider a Portugal teams boasting the likes of Luis Figo, Joao Pinto and Rui Costa, Argentina and players such as Hernan Crespo and Gabriel Batistuta or even that Brazil team spearheaded by the “Three R’s” Ronaldo, Ronaldinho and Rivaldo, teams subsequently just being better then England.

Now for the Three Lions to truly live up the hype and consequently achieve what so many expect of them, a few things need to be considered. Firstly this moniker that it’s England’s golden generation, and that they are due a title needs to exacerbated, something Capello has already done.

Secondly; the unbelievable reliability on striker Wayne Rooney is an absolute joke. When Rooney injured his ankle against Bayern Munich, the whole of Britain was locked onto Sky Sports News, believing that without Rooney in the starting eleven, they have absolutely no chance of beating any side in the World. Yes Rooney is an excellent player and one of the best in the World, by the way he is overhyped by the English media, and it would assume that he can carry his team to glory, just as Maradona did with Argentina or Roberto Baggio did with Italy in 1994. The English fans need to realise that although Rooney is a potential match winner, the likes of Steven Gerrard, Frank Lampard; who has been sensational for Chelsea this season, captain Rio Ferdinand, Ashley Cole and even Gareth Barry, are all vital components to England having a chance of winning, as no single man can win his team the World Cup.

Finally, this pathetic talk of the weather being “beneficial” due to its similarities to that in Great Britain are just some of the farcical reason touted as one of the reasons England can win.

So can England really be victorious?

If we analyse Capello’s England, we can see what attributes England have which will ultimately determine how far they can go in this campaign.

Qualifying campaign

If we look at England’s qualifying campaign, it really made the World sit up and take note that the side now playing under Capello, are a serious team, with a new found discipline and winning mentality instilled into the sides play. England qualified top of their group, with just one defeat, but most impressively they lay to rest the ghosts of Croatia a few years earlier (with relative ease in doing so), topping the group and scoring 34 goals and only conceding just 6 goals in the process.

World Cup 2010 Squad

As stated earlier, the squad has no real surprises, only the absence of the inconsistent Theo Walcott and the inclusion of Wayne Bridge replacement Stephen Warnock the talking issues. The benefit and real strength of this squad is undoubtedly its experience and familiarity between its members. Players such as Shaun Wright-Phillips and Joe Cole’s places were up for grabs, however they have been in and around the England team for the last five years, and their inclusions highlighted Fabio Capello’s theory of selecting tried and tested internationals.

David James and Robert Green will be battling for the number one jersey, while Joe Hart will subsequently be the third choice keeper. This is probably the most clear and concise area in which England can be sure of an array of talent and options.

The return of the versatile Liverpool defender Jamie Carragher, who was persuaded to come out of international retirement, is another wise head in the squad. The inclusion of Ledley King, whose resurgence and return from injury is like having a brand new player. He had an excellent last few months in a Tottenham shirt, subsequently helping them achieve Champions League football for the first time in their history, while proving his fitness to Capello, allowing for one of the best defenders in England being able to make the trip to South Africa, and offering an adequate deputy to the first choice centre backs.

With the breaking and somewhat demoralising news that newly appointed captain Rio Ferdinand picked up a knee injury which has ruled him out of the World Cup, Tottenham Hotspur’s Michael Dawson now has the chance to step up onto the big stage, become a valuable member of the squad, and finally stepping up into the first team and carrying his fine club form onto the pitch if need be.

For more players worthy of implementing the winning mentality into the squad, look no further than the likes of Ashley Cole, Joe Cole, Frank Lampard and John Terry; whose experience and performances helped Chelsea FC win the domestic league and cup double. This good form is being carried on that plane to South Africa, and they will be natural born leaders both on and off the pitch, while holding the squad together, when the challenge gets tougher and tougher.

With the striking options for England, it’s well documented the importance of Manchester United 24 year old Wayne Rooney, and should he continue his excellent club form, which saw him score 34 goals in all competitions, into South Africa will sufficiently improve England’s chances. Also Peter Crouch cannot be discounted, neither can his goals scoring record, with 21 goals in 38 games, he definitely has a case for claiming that role of Rooney’s strike partner. Although the highly favoured Emile Heskey, who was selected ahead of Sunderland’s Darren Bent (who scored 25 goals last season, making him the second best English striker the Premiership), while the added option of the tricky and boisterous Jermaine Defoe, is another option from the bench, who can always grab a goal when needed. It would seem England have a good batch of attackers, which could cause defences many difficulties.


Something which arose to me quite recently, is that the current players flying out to South Africa; are England’s most mature squad ever being taking to a World Cup. According to Sky Sports, we can look at the two previous England squads who have gone the furthest in the competition.

1966 England Squad – Average Age: 26.5 years, Average Caps: 23 caps – Final Result: Winners

1990 England Squad – Average Age: 27.8 years, Average Caps: 32.2 caps – Final Result: Semi Final

2010 England Squad – Average Age: 28.7 years, Average Caps: 39.1 caps – Final Result: ???

As you can see, the current squad has the highest average age, as well as the highest average of caps amongst the squad, compared to the most successful England teams in history. Ultimately, these experienced players, are ultimately the reasons behind Capello’s decision to pick players such as; Joe Cole, Shaun Wright-Phillips and Emile Heskey ahead of players such as Adam Johnson, Scott Parker and even the surprise exclusion Theo Walcott. It’s this experience and big game know how, which have somewhat instilled the required discipline and winning mentality amongst the squad, something that again will be vital for progression through this tournament.

Also we can compare England’s stats compared to the averages of the other two favourites in the tournament; Spain and Brazil.

2010 Spain Squad – Average Age: 29.11 years, Average Caps: 36.8 caps
2010 Brazil Squad – Average Age: 29.7 years, Average Caps: 37.2 caps
2010 England Squad – Average Age: 28.7 years, Average Caps: 39.1 caps

England are heading into this tournament with a greater average age, as well as the most caps average, in this year’s tournament.


England go into this tournament amongst the favourites, while there is of course a very good chance of Fabio Capello’s men being able to win the trophy, however it will be down to the Italian’s ability to instil this winning mentality displayed in qualifying and onto the grandest stage. The experience amongst the squad, as well as the talismanic Wayne Rooney, there is no reason why England can’t go all the way, however safer bets would be on a Quarter-final finish.

Let me know what you think? Do you think England can all the way? Who do you think will win the World Cup? Remember head to Real Talk Football Blog, for more on the World Cup and for you to place your vote.

Real Talk Football – Post Number 100!!