Having just watched England comfortably beat Moldova 5-0 in the first qualifying match for the World cup finals in Brazil 2014 its time to Que the hopes and expectations, the dare to dream and mutter the words “we could win the World cup”. There is only one problem with this? I said this for the World cups in South Africa, Germany, Japan and South Korea and probably France in 1998. So why should this qualifying and World cup be any different? Or will it be the usual that we qualify scrape through to the quarter finals and eventually get knocked out on penalties (and probably to the Germans).
Well the facts speak for themselves. At this very moment in time England lie third in the Fifa World rankings, The highest we have ever reached since Fifa rankings began. We have an English manager in Roy Hodgson, The only English manager who has taken over the national team with actual international managerial experience, and yet to be beaten in 90 minutes of play as England manager. England also have a balance in the team with experience and youth. The old guard of John Terry, Frank Lampard and Ashley Cole who were once described as “past it” in the middle of last season by some media critics went on to show that they still have a lot to offer by winning the Champions league with Chelsea. This experience can offer a lot to the new talent braking through into the team with Tom Cleverley and Alex Oxlade-Chamberlain making a claim to be in the starting eleven and none more so then their performance in Moldova. Having both started the game due to squad injuries they knew this could be their chance to show the manager what they had to offer in a competitive match and they did exactly that from kick off. The pace of Oxlade-Chamberlain on the wing and attacking threat of Cleverley playing just behind Jermaine Defoe was more then enough to spring a new life into the the England style of play. This was backed up Frank Lampard a real professional in the centre of the park who had this to say after the game. “They’re are brilliant, of course they’re are good enough.’ he told ITV1 “Tom is a pleasure to play with and with him being such a young age, he’s going to be right in the middle of the team for years to come.” He also had this to say on Alex Oxlade-Chamberlain “Alex was brilliant. He lit up the first half and it’s great to see players like that coming through.”
As we all know Moldova are not the power house in international football and being ranked only 141 in the world behind St Vincent and the Grenadines actually puts things into perspective. As the qualifying period continues we will be playing a harder standard of football, with the likes of Poland and Ukraine in our group but as you can only beat what is in front of you and the England team did exactly that. With the ground only having a 10.500 capacity and the pitch not exactly being up to the Wembley standard the stage was set for a shock upset. With that in mind England had the perfect start when they were awarded a penalty after only three minutes for a handball which Frank Lampard converted to settle down the enthusiastic home crowd. Then on 29 minutes Lampard got his and England’s second and with Defoe adding a third just minutes later it was safe to say the game was won by half time. With James Milner and a very deflected free kick form Everton’s Leighton Baines adding to the scoreline in the second half, it was certainly a great start to kick off the group stages. So we now look towards the game Tuesday night at home against Ukraine which i will be attending and which i have no doubt will be a sterner test for England, the objectives will still be the same. With an expectant 90.000 England fans at Wembley and Roy Hodgson still being judged on every match if the squad can put on another impressive and attacking performance and with a clean sheet then there is no reason why England cant stay top of group H before the next round of games take place.
Im not saying we will win every group game and that every performance will be top draw. This is England we don’t do things the easy way, but if we can build up a winning mentality and qualify comfortably for the finals in Brazil then it will certainly give us an edge as the team come up against the best in world football. Of course if England do these things and do get through the group easily then the pressure will be on England to transfer those performances and win the World cup. That is a stigma that is attached to every England team weather it is the World Cup or European Championships, but this is because we are an expectant sporting nation with football being our national sport with world class English players and in truth 1966 was too long ago. So lets just say the England world cup winning wagon is setting off and i am first on board and there is plenty of room if you want to jump on board and join me.
Photo courtesy of sportinglife.com
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