So this year is one of those magical years, one where all the greatest players in the world come together and kick a ball around on some well trimmed grass in the hope of going back to their homelands as gods amongst men. THIS IS THE WORLD CUP!

ENGLAND’S CHANCES

This year is the best chance I feel we’ve got to win the world cup since the semi-final heartache of Italia ’90. Yet still I don’t feel with got the squad or talent to go all the way. There is no doubt about the Fabio Capello’s managerial ability he’s proven across his career that he’s capable of winning countless trophies and he’s showed of his International pedigree by taking us to the finals with an almost flawless qualifying campaign. We’ve got a few world beaters in our squad just not enough to take us all the way, for example look at a squad like Spain or Brazil they’ve got world class players in every position. Have we? No I don’t think so, could you really see England lifting the world cup with Emile Heskey in the first XI. I also feel there is lack of passion within the England squad but that could all change come Saturday it’s just the recent friendly victories all seemed a little lacklustre but I’m sure there are obvious reasons for that. Overall I just feel there isn’t the depth or quality there to take us all the way this time but this is are best chance for some years, who knows what could happen, it is the world cup after all… Finally let’s just hope we don’t see a repeat of this.

MY PREDICTION: Semi-Finals

THE MAIN CHALLENGERS

Brazil: My personal tip for world cup glory this time round and hey I did predict Italy would win it back in ’06. Had a solid if unspectacular run-up to the world cup and ran out a decent qualifying campaign to reach the finals topping the CONMEBOL group. Showing that form is on the side of Brazilians this time. Squad wise i’d certainly say they’ve got the best defence of any of the squads out there and are pretty much sorted elsewhere. Should find an easy route to the final is they get through what looks like tough group stage opposition emphasis on ‘looks like’.

Spain: Everything seems set up for Spain to win the World Cup I just think something is likely to make them slip up. Could argue that it’s too late now and if the World Cup was two years ago then they would have walked it. But you can’t take away the strength in their squad the best forward two in the world who create chances at every opportunity and a flawless 100% record in qualifying  scoring 28 goals and only conceding 5. Is this finally Spain’s chance…

Germany: You can’t under-estimate the power of the Germans there always there or there abouts. Another country with another brilliant qualifying campaign and cracking squad. Yet I feel the Germans are in a similar position to us, they’ve lost their captain (can’t make excuses about that) and have a quality squad. But is it good enough to take them all the way. Again i don’t think so.

Holland: Always the dark horses in the tournament but often lack the composure when it really matters to take them to the final. Maybe too many of their world class players are unfit to really make a serious challenge with star striker Robin van Persie being out for the most part and Arjen Robben looking doubtful. But the dutch being who they are could still cause a huge World Cup upset.

Argentina: Have they got the talent? Yes. Have they got the manager? No. End of

Italy: The maybe we reigning champions but I don’t think they have enough quality in their squad to regain the trophy for two consecutive World Cups. The squad is looking tad old now and doesn’t seem to have enough strength in certain areas. But the Italians have got bags of experience that some of the sides might not have and that’s always a big advantage at this level. Still could be up there come the end of the tournament.

(ON A LESS SERIOUS NOTE) MY FAVOURITE WORLD CUP MEMORIES

1994: I wasn’t even one, how am I supposed to remember that?

1998: My first memory of ever watching football sitting with my dad watching a game that involved Scotland not sure who they we’re playing though

2002: On holiday in the Dorset sitting in caravan and getting up at silly times to watch classic games like Argentina vs Nigeria. Remember the great moment when David Beckham slotted home that penalty to beat Argentina in the Group stage. My mum was annoyed cos’ she wanted to go out for a walk or something. Who could forget the defeat the Brazil though in the quarter finals. Ran all the way from home to school so I could watch the game on the big projector. Sad times. Watched the final at my nans

2006: Came close to tears following the Portugal penalty shoot-out defeat. It was an emotional day already considering it was the same day that my mum, my sister and me had moved back into the house in Haslington thus rendering my dad homeless (well he went and lived with my Gran for a while). So it was hard to time for everyone. Stupidly missed the first half of the final cos I thought it was kicking off later then when it actually did. Favourite World Cup moment of all time Zidane head butting Matterazzi. What was he thinking? One of the greatest players of all time doing that in his final game and possibly costing France the World Cup title.

James x

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