With the Three Lions leaving it late to qualify for Brazil, Hugh Wilson looks at their prospects for the World Cup, with Roy Hodgson's men up against it from the start
Roy Hodgson came out in the media when announcing his squad and revealed that he believes his side can win the World Cup, but with a tough group stage lying ahead of them, many expect them to struggle to progress to the later stages.
The Three Lions overcame a tough qualifying group to secure a place in Brazil this summer. Hodgson's side had to win their last match against Poland to top Group H.
Despite not losing a game in qualification, England only beat Ukraine by one point after the 10 matches. Six wins in their campaign was good enough to see them top the group, with England winning three of their last four matches. They are priced at 7/4 (2.75) to remain unbeaten in the group stages with bet365.
Looking at the 23-man squad Hodgson has chosen, the big talking point was which left backs would go to Brazil.
The former Fulham and Liverpool manager chose to omit Ashley Cole, who at the age of 33 has been capped 107 times for England, instead choosing Leighton Baines and youngster Luke Shaw. Exciting talents like Adam Lallana, Ross Barkley and Raheem Sterling were all included alongside the likes of Wayne Rooney, Steven Gerrard and Frank Lampard.
England have been drawn in Group D, which looks to be a tough assignment in regards to the three other teams. Hodgson's men start their campaign against Italy in Manaus, with the conditions not likely suiting either side with the humidity in the area. This last time England met Italy in a competitive match was at Euro 2012, with the Italian's knocking England out on penalties. Uruguay lie in wait in the next match five days later, with Luis Suarez and Co. looking to take advantage of England's weak defence.
With their third match against Costa Rica, losses in their first two matches could leave Hodgson's side just playing for pride in this fixture. However, if England are still alive by this point, they can't underestimate their opponents, who had to come past the likes of Honduras and Mexico in their qualifying group.
Looking at the markets for England in this tough group, you can get the price of 4/1 (5.00) that they don't win a game in their group.
For those that fancy the Hodgson's charges to perform a lot better than that against their stiff opposition and finish top, you can get the price of 21/10 (3.10). England are odds on to progress and reach the last 16 at least, being priced at 8/13 (1.62).
Despite Hodgson believing England can win the World Cup, the odds are stacked against them as they could well struggle to get past the first hurdle. If England do manage to qualify from the group stages as runners up, they will meet the winner of Group C, which features Ivory Coast, Japan, Colombia and Greece.
If Hodgson's side were to win Group D, they would play the runner up of Group C. A run to the quarter finals could well be in line for England, but with Brazil waiting for them at that stage, they would struggle against a side who have been in sensational form this year.
|England's World Cup Squad - 33/1 with Paddy Power|
|Joe Hart||Leighton Baines||Ross Barkley||Rickie Lambert|
|Ben Foster||Gary Cahill||Steven Gerrard||Wayne Rooney|
|Fraser Forster||Phil Jagielka||Jordan Henderson||Danny Welbeck|
|John Ruddy (R)||Glen Johnson||Adam Lallana||Daniel Sturridge|
|Phil Jones||Frank Lampard||Jermain Defoe (R)|
|Luke Shaw||James Milner||Andy Carroll (R)|
|Chris Smalling||Alex Oxlade-Chamberlain|
|Jon Flanagan (R)||Raheem Sterling|
|John Stones (R)||Jack Wilshere|
|Michael Carrick (R)|
|Tom Cleverley (R)|
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