World Ranking: 8th
Best World Cup finish: Won World Cup in 1966
Coach: Fabio Capello
Goalkeepers: David James (Portsmouth), Robert Green (West Ham), Joe Hart (Manchester City)
Defenders: Glen Johnson (Liverpool), Michael Dawson (Tottenham), John Terry (Chelsea), Matthew Upson (West Ham), Jamie Carragher (Liverpool), Ledley King (Tottenham), Ashley Cole (Chelsea), Stephen Warnock (Aston Villa)
Midfielders: Steven Gerrard (Liverpool), Frank Lampard (Chelsea), Michael Carrick (Manchester United), Shaun Wright-Phillips (Manchester City), James Milner (Aston Villa), Aaron Lennon (Tottenham), Joe Cole (Chelsea), Gareth Barry (Manchester City)
Strikers: Peter Crouch (Tottenham), Emile Heskey (Aston Villa), Wayne Rooney (Manchester United), Jermain Defoe (Tottenham)
English soccer fans have been waiting a long time to claim another World Cup title – 44 years to be exact – and it looks as though England could have all the right pieces in place to compete for the title as the 2010 World Cup kicks off Friday in South Africa.
England’s best finish since their 1966 World Cup win was a measly fourth place semi-finals finish in 1990 and it appears The Three Lions have assembled a team that may be able to challenge again for the title.
It has been said that good teams have good coaching and England certainly proves that statement true. Italian-born Fabio Capello is a proven winner and has won a major league championship in seven of his 16 seasons as coach and will take that winning formula with him to South Africa.
Upon being named England’s national head coach, Capello announced that the job would likely be the last of his career and a victory at the World Cup would surely be a perfect swan song for Capello.
Up front, the Brits should have no trouble creating offence and will be relying on striker Wayne Rooney to provide it. Rooney is a star with the ball and has used his explosive speed and strength to become one of the game’s top scorers. Even though his injured ankle still may not be 100%, his influence will still be felt up front.
On defense, look no further than captain John Terry. Twice voted best defender in the UEFA Champions League and named to the 2006 World Cup all-star squad, Terry is one of the best. Even with Rio Ferdinand’s struggles with injuries, the English defense is as solid as any in the tournament.
If there were even a weak spot on this English team, it would be found in goal. David James has a wealth of international experience but has been proven to make untimely errors. The majority of Joe Hart’s international action has been in call-up scenarios, which leaves the door open for unproved Robert Green to take the job.
Thanks to England’s solid 9-1 qualifying record and the legacy of coach Capello, many fans and experts have the squad penciled in as a team who could win it all. England’s biggest battle will be combating the mental hurdles that come with a 44-year World Cup drought.