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Pele: England have a wonderful opportunity at Euro 2016

Pele says England have a wonderful opportunity to end their pain at major tournaments during Euro 2016.

The Brazil legend, who won the World Cup three times, has been in Paris for a promotional event ahead of the tournament with Diego Maradona.

Pele has watched England fail to progress beyond the quarter-finals at continental tournaments and World Cups since they made the last four of Euro ’96 on home soil, but thinks that run could come to an end in France.

“They have a very good side led by Wayne Rooney,” Pele told The Times of India.

“There are a few young talents who are raring to go. I know they did not perform to their true potential in the past few major tournaments, but there is no reason to repeat that. 

“This is a wonderful opportunity for these English footballers to excel on a big platform.”

Pele – who stated Germany were his “best bet” to win the Euros – is also excited by the squad holders Spain have taken to the tournament and feels they have a strong chance to bounce back from their disastrous World Cup performance in Brazil two years ago.

Asked about the retirements of Xavi and Xabi Alonso, the 75-year-old said: “Normally it takes some time to replace footballers of the highest quality, but Spain have some able replacements, who were there with the team but could not play regularly because of both Xavi and Xabi. 

“Even a footballer of Juan Mata’s ability could not find a place in the team. It proves Spain really have a good side. 

“Andres Iniesta will be the leading attacking midfielder while Sergio Busquets will be trusted with defensive responsibilities and Cesc Fabregas, David Silva will assist them both. On paper, it’s quite an exciting prospect.

“France are also strong contenders. Paul Pogba played well for Juventus, Antoine Griezmann took Atletico Madrid to the Champions League final with important goals. In Didier Deschamps, they have a strict disciplinarian at the helm of affairs.”

Fri 10 Jun, 2016
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