England Will Not Win The World Cup

Apparently England have a chance of winning the World Cup this year. At the moment, they are third favourites and the bookmakers have them at between 5 and 6 -1, so they see us being semi finalists at least. That seems to be popular opinion, and the ease of qualification plus the strength of the Premier League suggests that the England players should be well enough versed in big games to live up to this billing.

Having said all this, it was recently revealed by no less than Sir Alex Ferguson that only 24 Englishmen had played Champions League football this year. In comparison, over 100 Brazilians have competed in the competition this season. I found that hard to believe, so I did some research and below I have listed the English players who have played top level, European football this season.

  • Ashley Cole
  • Frank Lampard
  • Joe Cole
  • Ross Turnbull
  • John Terry
  • Daniel Sturridge
  • David Beckham
  • Matt Derbyshire
  • Sol Campbell
  • Jack Wilshere
  • Theo Walcott
  • Kieran Gibbs
  • Glenn Johnson
  • Jamie Carragher
  • Steven Gerrard
  • Martin Kelly
  • Gary Neville
  • Rio Ferdinand
  • Wes Brown
  • Michael Owen
  • Wayne Rooney
  • Ben Foster
  • Michael Carrick
  • Paul Scholes

Sir Alex was right. If everyone was fit, then seven of these would be starters in the first match in South Africa - A Cole, Lampard, Terry, Johnson, Gerrard, Rooney and Ferdinand. Several others would be on the plane and in the squad.

This clearly illustrates the lack of depth England has as a footballing nation, and, as good as some of the players who haven't played Champions League games are, the benefit and the experience gained by playing at this level shouldn't be underestimated. Half of these players will get no where near the England squad for varying reasons: injury, retired from the international game, too old or too young, or just not good enough.

Look, there were five virtual certainties for the England squad in the Aston Villa side which took the field against Chelsea at the weekend. A 7 - 1 drubbing ensued, and the difference in class between the two sides was clear for all to see. If this is what England has to rely on in South Africa, we might not even get out of the Group, let alone win the World Cup! Then there's the question of whether Capello has a Plan B if things aren't working on the field. Unlike England, Brazil have a bench with depth, experience and flair - something not even the most optimistic of England fans could claim.

All this runs deeper than just the World Cup, though. It shows the continued reliance of foreign talent in the Prem, and the scale of numbers and the natural talent that is still pouring out of Brazil. It also shows that the top clubs still don't see English players as good value. So, I just don't think England will be able to compete with Brazil in South Africa, as the Brazillians have everything it takes to win the World Cup. The stats don't lie.

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