The draw for the next World Cup in Brazil in 2014 has taken place. England have been drawn to play against Montenegro, Ukraine, Poland, Moldova and San Marino.
On paper any world class international team would be expecting to qualify from that group.
However this is England we are talking about and the Three Lions players always seem to make it difficult for us loyal fans.
England may top their European Championship group but it’s far from certain that we will qualify with a tough trip to Montenegro to come.
With the quality of player we have to chose from we should be doing better in the international arena. Granted we may not have the same quality player that Spain has, but then again who has in the international game. We do have a decent group of players to chose from though.
There will be a new boss in charge of the England national team when we play the qualifiers, so optimism will be high. Italian Fabio Capello will be leaving his post as England manager after the next European Championships.
The current favourite for the high profile position is Tottenham boss Harry Redknapp. The veteran boss is a good man manager and that’s what England players need. Since Capello has been in charge of the Three Lions he has shown himself to be lacking in that department.
The likes of Moldova and San Marino are football minors compared to England. However the other three teams in the group will prove far trickier opponents. The two Euro 2012 hosts Poland and Ukraine and newly-formed Montenegro have proved tough teams to beat in the past.
In fact England lost to Ukraine in qualifying for the 2010 World Cup, although the game was a meaningless for Capello’s men.
More recently Montenegro have came to Wembley and held England to a 0-0 draw. They are a very difficult side to break down and have emerged as England’s biggest competitors for a place in the Euro 2012. They looked slightly blunt in attack but you have to expect that from an away intent on not conceding.
Poland are an improving side but I would say they are the weakest out of the three other teams. England have came up against Poland a few times in the last few years and found them difficult opponents though. The trips to Poland are particularly tricky with such partisan home support.
Fabio Capello has stated that he believes the future is bright for England with so many young players coming through. There are some good players set for a bright future in the England team, the likes of Jack Wilshere, Jack Rodwell and Kieran Gibbs all look like top young players.
Hopefully a few more young players will come into the reckoning over the next couple of years. The team needs an injection of youth more than ever.
The England team is currently in a period of transition. A transition which should have started far earlier in Capello’s reign. He only decided to change things after the World Cup debacle. As everybody now knows though the Italian is very stubborn.
England currently have a crop of players who will be disappearing from the international scene in the near future. The likes of Frank Lampard, John Terry and even Rio Ferdinand have only got a few more years left in them at the top level.
Some would rather harshly say that they are already past it and should retire. However they do still have something to give the national team, if their performances are up to scratch that is. If they are out of form then they should be dropped and not just left in the team on reputation.
As England supporters we expect to qualify for every major tournament. Maybe our expectations are too high. All we ask for is for our national team to play to their full potential, which they haven’t in recent times.
England will have to improve if they want to qualify for the next World Cup. In fact England will have to improve if they want to qualify for Euro 2012. I’m pretty confident that England will qualify for both tournaments but it’s the England way to make it difficult.
How difficult is England’s draw for the 2014 World Cup?