England WC Team Preview

England first appeared at the 1950 FIFA World Cup and have appeared in 13 FIFA World Cups, they are tied for sixth-best in terms of number of wins alongside France and Spain. The national team is one of eight national teams to have won at least one FIFA World Cup title. The England team won their first and only World Cup title in 1966. The tournament was played on home soil and England defeated Germany 4–2 in the final match. With the score level at 2–2 at the end of 90 minutes, the game went to extra time. In the 98th minute, Hurst found himself on the scoresheet again; his shot hit the crossbar, bounced down onto the goal line, and was awarded as a goal. Debate has long raged over whether the ball crossed the line, with the goal becoming part of World Cup history. England’s final goal was scored by Hurst again, as a celebratory pitch invasion began. This made Geoff Hurst the only player ever to have scored three times in a World Cup final. BBC commentator Kenneth Wolstenholme’s description of the match’s closing moments has gone down in history: “Some people are on the pitch. They think it’s all over … [Hurst scores] It is now!”

In 1990, England finished in fourth place, losing 2–1 to host nation Italy in the third place play-off. This after losing on penalties to champions Germany in the semi-final. The team has also reached the quarter final on two recent occasions in 2002 and 2006. Previously, they reached this stage in 1954, 1962, 1970 and 1986.

The team’s worst result in the competition was a Round of 16 elimination in 1998 and 2010. In 1998, the team suffered a loss to Argentina and Romania, and departed the tournament nearly a fortnight before the final. In 2010, England suffered its worst WC defeat (4–1) to Germany in the Round of 16, after drawing with the United States and Algeria, and defeating Slovenia 1–0 in the group stage. In both 1950 and 1958, the team exited the competition at the first group stage.

England go into Brazil 2014 with low expectations. Even though Roy Hodgson guided his side to an undefeated qualifying campaign, automatic qualification evaded England until the final match at Wembley. Two draws against close rivals Ukraine as well as against Poland and Montenegro have shown lack of fight and innovation in a haphazard England side. Only twice before have they failed to make it out of the group stage of a World Cup, in 1950 and 1958, the former of which was held in Brazil.

Wayne Rooney remains England’s greatest talent and his seven goals in six World Cup qualifying starts underlined his importance to Roy Hodgson’s side. In midfield, Gerrard and Frank Lampard provide experience and creativity while young guns Jack Wilshere, Alex Oxlade-Chamberlain and Andros Townsend highlight the Three Lions’ attacking flair for the future. Danny Welbeck came into his own during qualification, scoring four goals on the way to the finals, while Daniel Sturridge’s emergence as one of the English Premier League’s top forwards can only bolster Roy Hodgson’s attacking options for Brazil.

Goalkeepers: Joe Hart (Manchester City), Fraser Forster (Celtic), Ben Foster (West Bromwich Albion)

 

Defenders: Leighton Baines (Everton), Gary Cahill (Chelsea), Phil Jagielka (Everton), Glen Johnson (Liverpool), Phil Jones (Manchester United), Luke Shaw (Southampton), Chris Smalling (Manchester United)

 

Midfielders: Ross Barkley (Everton), Steven Gerrard (Liverpool), Jordan Henderson (Liverpool), Adam Lallana (Southampton), Frank Lampard (Chelsea), James Milner (Manchester City), Alex Oxlade-Chamberlain (Arsenal), Raheem Sterling (Liverpool), Jack Wilshere (Arsenal)

 

Forwards: Rickie Lambert (Southampton), Wayne Rooney (Manchester United), Daniel Sturridge (Liverpool), Daniel Welbeck (Manchester Unite

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