England backed for World Cup glory - not by the English

Roy Hodgson

Former Manchester United striker Diego Forlan claims that people in Japan see England as one of the favourites to win the World Cup.

For years England have been drummed up as one of the ‘firm favourites’ to win the World Cup. They haven’t won it since 1966 and there are few who believe that they will win it in Brazil in the summer. Few in England, that is.

While the mood among most England supporters in the country is largely that of pessimism, in the Far East football followers believe that Roy Hodgson’s side will be one of the contenders for the game’s most prestigious trophy. That’s according to Diego Forlan, who is currently playing his club football for Cerezo Osaka.

Forlan is well known in the Premier League for failing to impress during his time at Manchester United between 2001 and 2004. Following his move to Spain, he established himself as one of the best and most lethal strikers, first with Villarreal and then with Atletico Madrid.

The Uruguay international moved to Italian giants Inter Milan in 2011, but joined Brazilian outfit Internacional a year later. In January 2014 he signed for Japanese club Cerezo. He is 34 now and is in the twilight of his career, but he is still expected to play for his country at the 2014 World Cup finals in Brazil in the summer.

Having witnessed the popularity of football in general - and the Premier League in particular - in Japan, Forlan has now stated that the Japanese public has faith in the England national team.

‘Low expectations will help England’, he wrote in his FourFourTwo column. ‘I was living in Manchester before the 2002 World Cup and people really thought England would win the tournament. Again, they were disappointed. It’s similar now I’m in Japan. They love the Premier League and admire the England national team by association. In Japan, they genuinely see the Three Lions as one of the favourites’.

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