Sponsored Hold on to Your Hats, England Can Win the World Cup in Russia

TractorBoys

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It’s World Cup time again, so as well as flags on cars, every salesman and his dog is trying to associate his brand and product with the competition, and with the usual tabloid furore, we can also expect the tired old clichés being wheeled out in response. “Fifty-two years of hurt,” “we’ll never get past the Germans” and “English players just don’t know how to win” will be recycled over and over, with only the first having any glimmer of truth. There are causes for optimism, however, so if anyone is prepared to discard their dark-coloured glasses for a few seconds and allow themselves to dream, we could be heading towards the best summer of our lives.

England’s teams in 1986 and 1990 are now both hailed as our finest teams since ‘66 and the unluckiest. Certainly, the team that went to Italy was superb, with the perfect mix of experience along with the maverick genius of Gascoigne. There is little doubt that if that competition had been played two more times, England would have come out victorious on at least one of those occasions. The same could be said for the squad in Mexico four years before, and the two sides are often lumped together in people’s minds. Probably due to them both being managed by Bobby Robson, with Lineker leading the line.

If you take a look at the squad and even the team from ‘86 however, it just doesn’t compare with that which would grace Italia ‘90, but still came so close only to be thwarted by the underhand tactics of Mr. Maradona. With no disrespect to specific members of that side, apart from the spine of the team, the others are hardly names that would be sung from the rafters should they be in today’s squad.

In Harry Kane, we have for the first time since the likes of Shearer and Lineker, a genuinely world-class striker. Russia 2018 could well be his Mexico ’86 where don’t forget the current Match of the Day host won the golden boot. Mexico saw the gamble of promoting Peter Beardsley to the starting 11 after less than a handful of games prior to the competition. On paper, when we got on the plane to Central America, hopes were low. They plummeted even more after losing to a poor Portugal side, then drawing against Morocco, with Butch Wilkins seeing red in the process.

The point I am trying to make is that for a team to be successful in the World Cup, it doesn’t necessarily have to have 11 world beaters. Look at the teams of the last few winners. Taking away the distortion of hindsight, many players from each of those teams would not have stood out beforehand. If they can do a job and do well and are placed around a core of four or five outstanding players, then with luck on their side — and if everything clicks — they have as good a chance as the other three of four teams.

England have that core of players, if — and it is a big if — they step up and play to their full potential.

If we look at England’s World Cup fixtures for 2018, we have not been given a poor hand. Squad wise, Belgium are one of the strongest in the tournament, but they will offer no unknowns to England, with so many of their stars plying their trade in the EPL. Tunisia and Panama, though they present the potential banana skins, should not have enough to derail Gareth Southgate’s team.

Looking ahead, it matters little if we win the group or come second, which is probably the more likely outcome. That is an advantage as it immediately relieves the pressure of having to top the group to avoid the harder side of the draw. It is always a lottery who you will play, but if we do finish second, the chances are the last 16th game will be against Poland. Again, a good side, but also the type who England should feel comfortable playing against.

Then the German’s are likely to come along. Going back to the start, there will be the usual intake of breaths and naysayers, and there is no denying the fact that they are a strong side, with the confidence that comes from their Confederation Cup win. Football is a funny old game though, and something deep inside me believes that on our day, we can beat the side that has handed so much bitter defeat to England over the years. We just have to hope that day will be 7th July.

After that, it is just a matter of beating the one-man Portugal team and the often flattering-to-deceive Brazilians and we can lay 52 years of history to bed. Even if we do come up short this summer, extending the parallel with Mexico, that was the start of a time when England could genuinely consider themselves contenders. Continuation and the blooding of talented young players saw them have the most success since that summer of ‘66. Though I am in no way comparing Gareth Southgate with the incomparable Sir Bobby, there are several other areas where comparisons can be made. So, forget all the negativity and get on board with what may well be the ride of our lives, which will continue into Qatar and beyond.
 

mistermagic

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#2
I don't know how old you are but I was born in 1986 so can't really compare sides from that era to nowadays. However, those squads had to be pretty good (world class even) to be described as better than the England of '04. It's been said many a time on this board and TFF that when Gerrard, Lampard and Scholes were in their prime, England had one of the 3 best players in the world. Add to that the likes of Rio Ferdinand and Michael Owen and you had 5 players of considerable quality. But as you said, great players don't make great teams or World Cup winning ones. Examples that spring to mind are Italy's Fabio Grosso, a pitiful left-back of questionable quality but he did score in a semi-final against Germany in Germany or our very own Stéphane Guivarc'h who spent most of the World Cup not scoring despite being our #9.

Another point I agree with is that England have a chance. I believe that football's general quality has regressed which means that few sides attack and try to win the competition by playing football (Portugal proved that in the summer of 2016). If you ask me, I think the winner will be Spain because they are the best team in the world. Simple.

However, I don't think you got your later stages right. If England finish top, they will meet Poland in the 1st round KO stage (provided Colombia finish top of group H). It's a game I can see England winning by a solitary goal à la Ecuador in '06. But then, England will meet Brazil in the quarter-finals (if they top Group E which they really should). Germany are in Group F and I'm expecting them top their group.

This is how I see the the KO stages of the World Cup:

Russia v Portugal
France v Croatia
France v Portugal
Brazil v England
Brazil v Mexico
England v Poland


Germany v Switzerland
Colombia v Belgium
Germany v Colombia
Spain v Argentina
Spain v Uruguay
Argentina v Denmark



Semis: France v Brazil & Germany v Spain
Final: France v Spain
Winner: Spain.
 

Carver

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#3
HA!

Sorry but there are many things that never seem to change at world cups.

Most notably England who are always a massive let down in any tournament for that matter, no matter how good we think they are going into it they always screw it up leaving us feeling angry and depressed.

Someone like Germany on the other hand no matter how average or good they are will make the semi finals at least and have ZERO bad luck on the way.

As for the final, it will be a shit boring match won 1-0 in extra time and only to be contested by 2 of the usual big boy nations even when there were smaller under dog nations who looked and played better than them.

I just think this world cup isnt going to be any different as it just looks so predictable from the group stages where that is usually the most interesting stage. I fear that this could be one of the worst world cups ever.

What I would like to see for a change is England to actually score more than 1 goal in a game and to win a game fairly comfortably, surely that is not too much to ask for? Because our last 2 world cups have been utter shite!
Also I know it's a long shot but I'd like to see someone different make the final who has never been a finalist before and for the final to be a decent game at least and not a torturous waste of 120 minutes of my life.
 
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Dirk

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#5
Sponsored Hold on to Your Hats, England Can Win the World Cup in Russia
Sponsored? WTF. Do you let someone sponsor it that you open a thread about England winning the World Cup?

As for the Final, I don't expect us to be in it this time ( but I think it's semi-final as usual for us, under Jogi Löw we never missed the semis in Euro or World Cup). We are actual World Champs and we won the Confed Cup last year. No Confed Cup Winner won the World Cup next year and no World Champ, except Brazil in1962, could defend his title. On the other hand, before the last World Cup no European team had won a World Cup in South America (and Brazil was the only South American team who won the World Cup in Euripe in 1958), so we don't care much about bad omen it seems.
Nonetheless I think it will be another European team that will win in Russia (although I would be more than happy to be wrong here and Germany getting its 5th Star.) but not England.

You thought Germany/Argentina was torturous waste of 120 minutes?
tbh, it was. But I don't give a fuck if it's boring or wasted time as long as we win against Argentina. And we've "done our duty" to entertain the whole football world just days before the final and winning 7-1 against Brazil and handling them their biggest ever defeat in a World Cup (in their own World Cup :D ). In a final there's too much expectations and therefore it becomes mostly not the great match (there were exceptions).
 
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Dirk

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Italy won it back-to-back in 1934 and 1938.

I can think of many, many less enjoyable games to watch than the last World Cup final.
Smart arse:D

so change "except' with ''since' then ( my excuse? I always ignore italian word cup wins ;) )
 

Carver

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You thought Germany/Argentina was torturous waste of 120 minutes?
Well yes it was pretty dire and seeing that overrated donkey Higuain embarrasingly miss a great chance early on just set the tone.

Sponsored? WTF. Do you let someone sponsor it that you open a thread about England winning the World Cup?

As for the Final, I don't expect us to be in it this time ( but I think it's semi-final as usual for us, under Jogi Löw we never missed the semis in Euro or World Cup). We are actual World Champs and we won the Confed Cup last year. No Confed Cup Winner won the World Cup next year and no World Champ, except Brazil in1962, could defend his title. On the other hand, before the last World Cup no European team had won a World Cup in South America (and Brazil was the only South American team who won the World Cup in Euripe in 1958), so we don't care much about bad omen it seems.
Nonetheless I think it will be another European team that will win in Russia (although I would be more than happy to be wrong here and Germany getting its 5th Star.) but not England.



tbh, it was. But I don't give a fuck if it's boring or wasted time as long as we win against Argentina. And we've "done our duty" to entertain the whole football world just days before the final and winning 7-1 against Brazil and handling them their biggest ever defeat in a World Cup (in their own World Cup :D ). In a final there's too much expectations and therefore it becomes mostly not the great match (there were exceptions).
That would be a great element of suprise though if in a final one team just say "OK they will probably expect us to be cautious too so let's go all out and attack them and try to win the match in the first 15 - 20 minutes" .
 

Cornish Piskie

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#12
Interested to read the OP, but I feel it is a large helping of nostalgia followed by an overdose of "Whatiffery". If this happens or that happens..... If a German black cat walks over a broken mirror underneath a ladder on Friday 13th they might just have a bad day.......

My Grandma used to say "if wishes were horses the Devil would ride." For England to win the world cup would be a level of wish fulfilment supported by the cavalry division from hell.

Quarter finals for England at best in my opinion, and I only think that because we could well play Poland in the round of 16 and we've had the Indian sign on them since 1973. 16 games unbeaten against the Poles, made up of 1 x tournament match WC finals (1986) and 15 WC or EC qualifiers down the years so they will be wanting to avoid us if they can but if we do play each other, England will start with a massive psychological advantage.

I don't like to do England down lightly, and would love to be made to eat my words, but I see nothing in this team that inspires me to think it can happen. Let's just watch the tournament and enjoy it for what it is.
 

CEngelbrecht

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#13
I'm beginning to really appreciate British panel shows.


5:13
Rob Beckett: The biggest thing about all this Gove backstabbing is that I wish I'd read a bit more Shakespeare, cos they keep banging on about how Machiavellian it all is, and I'm having to go, "Yeah, tell me about it, mate." Got no idea who he is or what he does.
John Robins: He wasn't from Shakespeare.
Rob Beckett: Who's Maca...? Who is he, then? I thought he was a nut till last week.
Holly Walsh: Positively macadamian!
Dara Ó Briain: How macadamian of you to have done this!
Rob Beckett: I'm the kind of guy that does the research on the show. Who's the Machiavellian fellow, then?
Hugh Dennis: He was an Italian, sort of, philosopher who used very ruthless tactics to achieve power. (Bangs his head into the table!)
Dara Ó Briain: He wrote a book called "The Prince"...
James Acaster: (Pointing to Hugh) Happy? Look what you've done.
Rob Beckett: I thought he just pissed off a king in something.
Hugh Dennis: He's not Shakespearean. They keep on saying he's Shakespearean, but in Shakespeare, everybody kills everyone else. And that didn't happen here, did it? Julius Caesar didn't get up the next day and write a column for the Daily Telegraph.
 

SALTIRE

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#14
Well none of the big sides have looked impressive so far, so who knows, if England put in a good performance, thats got to make you favourites for the tournament; I mean after all, SSN have already planned your route to the final...

 

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