England's Chances in South Africa

Saturday, 22 May 2010 ·

Under Fabio Capello, England have looked a much stronger unit especially against mid-range opposition they have traditionally slipped up against.  For the Group Stage, Capello's men will face USA, Algeria and Slovenia and I do not foresee any slipups with England topping their group easily.  The only question being how many will they score.
The first knockout phase of the World Cup is where the real test begins with a possible fixture against the runner-up of Group D from Germany, Australia, Serbia and Ghana.  Germany will win this group easily with the only real threat possibly coming from Serbia who finished top of their qualifying group ahead of France.  Serbia possess some dangerous players and can be difficult to break down with players like Jovanovic (Liverpool), Nikola Zigic (Valencia), Milos Krasic (CSKA Moscow) and Dejan Stankovic (Inter) all potentially match-winners.  It is likely England will face either Serbia or Ghana in the first knockout stage with my money going on a tie against Serbia who I think will be too good for Ghana. 

Next up is a tie against the winner of Group A from South Africa, Mexico, Uruguay or France against the runners-up of Group B from Argentina, Nigeria, South Korea and Greece.  In all likelihood, France will probably win Group A but with the in-form Mexico and the dangerous Uruguayans, it will be tough for France as well as the host nation South Africa.  Previous World Cups have always sprung a surprise in this regard, with South Korea and Japan both doing well when they jointly hosted the World Cup in 2002, but the two South American sides are very dangerous and might prove too much for a well-supported Bofana-Bofana.  I predict Mexico to finish as runners-up to France whose likely opponents will probably be Greece or Nigeria who should not pose a problem for the French. 
So, a tie against the former champions looks likely failing any slipups, who became the first team to inflict defeat upon Fabio Capello as England manager but the French are not the force they once were and England should edge past to a semi-final berth with Brazil, Holland, Spain, Italy and Portugal all possible opponents.
Against teams of this calibre you will be looking to your key-men to make something happen but England only really have Gerrard, Lampard and Rooney who can do any real damage against teams of a higher quality.  There are just too many slightly above average players in the England squad and against the likes of Spain, Brazil and Italy it will be too much of a struggle if the first eleven are unable to create decent chances.  Already, the Spanish have exposed England's weaknesses in a friendly in 2009 after emerging 2-0 victors in a test of how far England had improved under Capello but with the strength of this current Spanish side only seeming to increase, all bets are on Spain to lift the World Cup this year.
England under Fabio Capello are certainly a stronger prospect than ever but the quality of the opposition is such that a semi-final place will be the highest England will achieve in South Africa.

Graham Matheson


Alistair Rhodes said...
25 May 2010 at 20:53  

I think that yes England are a stronger outfit under Capello are yes they will struggle agianst the likes os spain, italy, germany and Brazil.
I'm hoping for them to make the Quarters.
Torress not playing for spain is a big loss for them and they are definetly weeker from that

The Big Match Centre said...
3 June 2010 at 04:43  

Recent performances aside, Capello's England are definitely better than we've seen in a long time but against quality opposition we have yet to see them play and test themselves. This World Cup will be interesting once they get to the QF stage and we find out how good they really are.

powerstriders said...
30 September 2010 at 01:37  

Nice post on performances of teams, interesting blog.

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11 May 2012 at 08:08  

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