Arsenal international: England can go all the way in World Cup

A non-English Gunner has tipped the Three Lions to lift the trophy should they retain defensive strength.

'I thought offensively England were fantastic,' said Wojtech Szczesny, the Arsenal goalkeeper who took the place of Southampton shot-stopper in Waldemar Fornalik's Poland selection earlier this week.

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Fornalik has since been sacked for the nation's performance in World Cup qualifiers, England, in contrast, were undefeated throughout their Group H matches and guaranteed their place in next summer's Brazil tournament thanks to a strong 2-0 victory on Tuesday night.

Wayne Rooney's goal, headed down into the bottom corner, was executed with precision. Steven Gerrard's strike allowed passion to boil over, yet once again, Andros Townsend's directness, positivity and excitement generated whenever he was on the ball stole headlines as the zippy Tottenham Hotspur winger has surely played himself into contention for one of the 23 places in Hodgson's eventual finals squad.

'They created a lot of chances… but I am obviously very disappointing about the result,' Szczesny added.

England's unbeaten stretch is now at 22 games, having won 13 and drawn nine. Their last loss was against Germany… that 4-1 defeat at the UEFA European Championships.

More recently though, Hodgson's rearguard came under scrutiny for allowing Poland certain chances on goal that Robert Lewandowski on a better day, or his team-mates had they been of a greater calibre (like those through to the World Cup already) would have converted.

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But out of all the European sides battling for a qualification place, only Spain conceded fewer times than England, yet they also competed in less games as there were only five nations in Group I, compared to six in others.

Szczesny continued: 'England are also solid in defence now, so if they keep going like that and can improve a bit more, then surely they will have a chance at the World Cup. If they can go to Brazil with the same attitude which beat us, then they will be one of the favourites, and I think they believe they are.

'I hope they can do very well. They can go all the way. Obviously if I was there I would be hoping Poland could win it, but I will be hoping that England can now go all the way and win it. There are no realistic targets when you go to the World Cup, you just want to win and make your dream come true.'

England are currently 14/1 to win the World Cup in Brazil.

image: © Ronnie Macdonald

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