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Brazilian legend: England are one of the World Cup favourites

Former Middlesbrough playmaker Juninho has stated that Roy Hodgson’s men are one of the favourites for next summer’s tournament.

England take on Chile and Germany in upcoming friendlies over the next week, in the first games for the Three Lions since they booked a place at the World Cup in Brazil next summer.

Roy Hodgson has tinkered with his squad slightly, with the former West Brom boss eager to find the correct blend of players to help the British side do well in South America.

England were unconvincing in their 2010 campaign in South Africa, eventually being eliminated by arch enemies Germany after a poor group stage.

However, given England’s automatic qualification for the event in Brazil, one man that used to play in the Premier League is predicting an improvement for Hodgson’s men.

Juninho became something of a cult hero in his time at Middlesbrough, representing the North East club for a season in 1999-2000 and again in 2002-04.

The former attacking midfielder feels that England will be one of the favourites come Brazil next year.

"Spain, Germany, Italy, also Argentina and England. They will all be favourites in the competition,” he told talkSPORT.

"Of course, the atmosphere and the weather is totally different from Europe and can be an advantage to South American teams.

"But I think England can do well. They still have great players like [Steven] Gerrard and [Wayne] Rooney. I think they can do better at this World Cup than the last one."

Much will depend on the draw for England, who need to build momentum in the group stages if they are to build on previous disappointing campaigns.

image: © geetarchurchy

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