England - Chances in South Africa 2010?
25th June 2009
... Comments

Looking a little further afield than our local heroes Hampton and Richmond Borough FC, as Capello's England reign continues in impressive style with qualification all but assured, it wont be long before every tabloid newspaper will be heralding the national side as champions-elect before the tournament's even started.


But do England realistically have a chance?


In terms of major tournament progress over the past couple of decades, more often than not England have performed commendably once qualified and it's been rare for teams to knock us out over 90 mins. Rather dreams had faded and hearts broken when it's come down to the lottery spot-kicks - a fate that other giants of the world game including the Netherlands and Italy have also suffered. There will be a real hunger and a point to prove too after the failures of the Euro 2008 qualifying campaign.


The depth of the English national team has rarely been better in recent times, with a good blend of youth, experience and leadership. Many of England's high profile players are competing regularly at the highest level, in the Champions League, a competition managers including Arsene Wenger have heralded as the pinnacle for quality football in the present era. Capello also seems to be getting the best out of our match winners like Rooney and Gerrard, something Steve Mclaren failed to do in spectacular fashion.


And as for Capello, he's arguably the best manager in world football. Sven Goran Erikkson had some admirable qualities and accolades when England's last realistic chance of success came, but his CV pales into insignificance when compared to Capello - a born winner. Capello's also less likely to attract the off the field publicity that marred the Erikkson campaign.


So far so good then..


It's when England's squad is matched up against their rivals that often dims the optimism but look around world football currently and England shouldn't have much to fear on present form.


Struggling immensely under Maradona's leadership. The Argentinian legend doesn't look anywhere near as comfortable on the touch-line as he did weaving his magic on the field of play despite a wealth of talent to pick from. Thumped 6-1 by Bolivia recently.


Still coming to terms with life post-Zidane. Have simply stuttered along, with manager Raymond Domenech still under immense pressure and look anything but WC contenders.



Will be there or thereabouts, as they often are, with unrivalled organisation. But no individual brilliance that made teams such as their WC winning team of Italia 90 stand out. Beatable.



Have looked nothing short of awful under Queiroz and in serious danger of not even qualifying, Ronaldo or not.



Never to be counted out, winning world cup tournaments consecutively is a huge ask and one the present Italian squad doesn't look capable of doing. There are players to look out for like Guiseppe Rossi but on the face of it Italy look like an ageing squad lacking a creative genius like Totti or Baggio to really make a difference.



Had looked very unsettled and largely unimpressive under present manager Dunga until recently. Their great individual talent up front, the likes of Kaka and Robinho, seems to be undermined with strange squad selections behind them (Kleberson anyone?). Improving gradually however and will no doubt be one of the teams to beat come the World Cup, as always.

There's really just one team missing from that list and probably the biggest hurdle standing in front of England and most of the contenders way of lifting a trophy come next summer.



Perennial under-achievers, Spain put aside their demons to run out deserved winners in Euro 2008 and look to be only going from strength to strength. Barcelona's triumph in the CL final highlighted their strengths with standout performances from the likes of Puyol, Pique, Iniesta and Xavi and it says it all that such a blessed individual like Cesc Fabregas struggles to even start in their midfield. 

With other stars like Torres, arguably the world's best centre forward currently, making up their starting XI, Spain look unrivalled in the player department and there's no way you could put England on a par with them currently. Right now their biggest enemy is complacency as France found out in 02 and they'll carry the heavy burden of their country having never won the prestigious tournament and will see this as their best chance.


So there we go..


There's still a full season of football to play until we can truly assess any team's chances fully in South Africa next year but right now i'd say Spain are head and shoulders above the rest and a good shout to replicate France's achievement in winning both major international tournaments consecutively. If Spain do achieve this, the feat would be even more impressive in that they didn't achieve either on home soil.


We'll see if things change nearer the time.

Football in the borough of Richmond

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Stuart J

Member since: 19th June 2012

Web Editor/Accounts Manager for thebestofrichmond. Football/Boxing/Mixed Martial Arts enthusiast in spare time.

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