Wanchope: England will come back stronger

The Costa Rica assistant coach insists the Three Lions were unlucky to be beaten by Italy and Uruguay, and he says they have the players to become a force in the future
By Kris Voakes in Sao Paulo

Paulo Wanchope is certain England can become a force to be reckoned with in years to come on the back of their World Cup exit.

Roy Hodgson's side go into their final Group D fixture against Costa Rica, for whom Wanchope is assistant coach, knowing that they cannot qualify for the knockout stages following successive defeats to Italy and Uruguay.

But the former Derby County, Manchester City and West Ham United striker is confident England can be a force again soon.

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"I think they are great players and were unlucky in the two games," Wanchope told reporters. "They played very well, great football. But that is football.

"We saw the game against Italy, and they were unlucky, Uruguay as well. I think England in the near future will be even better as they have great talent coming through. They will be a better team.

"For me it is a big surprise they don't have any points. For sure, I know the progress of the team will be better if they keep the manager and everyone. I think England in two, three, four years time will be even better."

The success of Wanchope's Costa Rica side is one of the reasons for England's exit, with their surprise victories over Uruguay and Italy helping them through to the Round of 16 with one game to spare, and the 37-year-old insists that it took a lot of hard work to earn those six points.

"We did a great job against Uruguay and Italy," he added. "We kept our calm and were very disciplined on the defensive side. We knew we had great talent, great young players. The key for us is as a team we worked very hard to defend well, and we had chances to score.

"We want to impress the world, to be a better team. We have been improving for the last year and a half. We knew we needed to work a lot on the defensive side and be more disciplined. We knew we had great players who could score against anyone.

"The world is surprised. No one expected this. We need to keep going, keep working hard and doing the right things."

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Joel Campbell is one of the many Costa Ricans to stand out so far, and the Arsenal striker, who spent the last season on loan at Olympiakos, has the tools to succeed in the Premier League according to Wanchope.

"He could improve even more. He is doing very well, a great talent. He is really looking forward to going back to Arsenal to impress the manager, do pre-season and try and stay in the team."

Costa Rica and England clash in Belo Horizonte on Tuesday, with the Central Americans needing only a draw to ensure top spot in Group D.