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By Shoeb Molvi.

As a child growing up, one of my most fond memories was seeing Gary Lineker score against then West Germany in the Italia 1990 World Cup. That feeling as a 10 year old was very new to me. Like any England fan I thought this is it, we are going to make it to the final. However, an hour or so later that fond memory turned in to despair when Stuart Pearce missed that penalty. So close but yet so far. So what makes this England team any better than that great team of 1990? A few factors to consider:

Wayne Rooney

First of all Wayne Rooney. He is world class and its only a matter of time before he is officially crowned as the world player of the year which his old pal Ronaldo holds at present. Rooney has already scored 30 goals in all competitions and Ronaldo’s tally of 42 last season is definitely within reach for the classy England striker.

His drive and enthusiasm can never be doubted. Which ever shirt he puts on, be it the red of United or the white for England, one thing your guaranteed from him is 100% in terms of running and closing down opposition defenders. What a player!

Squad depth

However, the most important factor why England can really go all the way and win the World Cup in South Africa is simple. The depth and quality of the squad. Players like Gerrard, Lampard, Ferdinand & Terry other than Rooney would walk in to any national team if they are fully fit. You also have the likes of Defoe, Joe Cole, Ashley Young and James Milner who probably wont get in to the starting line up of the England side but this just shows what talent we have even on the sub bench.

Also having a fully fit Ashley Cole back would only make England’s chances higher in terms of progression to the knock out stages and beyond. On his day he can give any left back a run for their money in terms of both defending and attacking..Like John Terry his had his troubles with his personal life and they have been highlighted in the media but this will make them both stronger and the England team stronger. This will bring the team closer and they wont just play for each other..they will play for the three lions.

Also this time round we have the usual experienced players such as Beckham, Gerrard and Lampard to name a few, but we also have the likes of Walcott, Lennon and Shaun Wright Phillips. Young talent with lot’s of pace. This mix in terms of experience and young talent will also drive the team on to better things.

No previous England team in my opinion, has ever possessed that much quality before. Even having the brilliant Beckham on the bench, with his sublime crossing and dead ball quality. You always fancy him to make a difference in any latter stage of any game. Also with Crouch’s height and touch this is a great combination from the sub’s bench that England can adopt in the latter stages of any World Cup match.

Fabio Capello

Even the 1966 winning team did not possess this. However, what they possessed was a lot of heart and passion and that stemmed from the manager then, the great Sir Alf Ramsey.

This time round we have Fabio Capello and another major factor why I think England have a great chance of winning the World Cup. Strong minded and not scared of making any changes and even dropping some of the star players if they are not performing. He is a great man manager and having Capello as the manager will be the driving force in England’s chances of progressing to the latter stages of the World Cup.


My only concern is that the domestic season is a very long one. Players such as Rooney, Lampard, and Terry have played a lot of games already and will continue to do so right until the end of the season as Man Utd and Chelsea go for the premiership and champions league. This may mean players get injured or face burn out. Which of course would severely damage England’s chances in the World Cup.

However, England’s rivals such as Spain and Brazil will also have the same problem. Spain for me will be the difference. If we can overcome them in the World Cup then it is our destiny. There are so many great players on show at the World Cup, Messi, Ronaldo, Drogba but Spain with Villa, Iniesta, Xavi and a fully fit Torres would be a big threat to any team.

However, if England play to their potential, this time round the World Cup is coming home once again. But we have to avoid penalty shoot-outs at all costs. With our track record, I have more chance of winning the Euro Lottery than England winning a match on a penalty shoot-out. Hope I am wrong.

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