England: Spectacular yet unsteady
HT.com acquaints you with the Group B favourite for World Cup. Group AFIFA Rewind : Mexico, 1970 World Cup | Picsindia Updated: Jun 02, 2006 20:44 IST
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ENGLAND - Odds 8/1
Group B> Paraguay, Sweden, T & Tobago
Qualification> 1st in Group 6 (WC qualifier)
World Cup wins> Champions in 1966
With a formidable line-up that includes David Beckham, Steven Gerrard and Frank Lampard, capped off by goal-scoring faculties like Michael Owen and Wayne Rooney, it is hard to imagine England team being relegated in the early stages of the tournament.
However, it is a fact that for all the hype it receives, England has not been able to claim the World Cup trophy for the last 40 years.
|England - 10th|
|Paraguay - 33rd|
|Sweden - 16th|
|T & Tobago - 47th|
There are question marks on the team's performance and even though they look firm favourites on paper in Group A, Sweden is one team which can turn the tables on football giants on any given day.
Swedes - powered by players like Henrik Larsson and Zlatan Ibrahimovic - will be aiming to improve on their performance from last edition's World Cup when it made to last 16.
With just six appearances, Paraguay is the weak link of Group B and would be hoping that England and Sweden have an off-day in the field. However, what would give them heart is that they have advanced to the second round in each of its last three World Cup campaigns.
The above three teams will look to rack up the goals against Trinidad and Tobago which will be making its debut appearance this World Cup.
Who to watch:Frank Lampard has already scored 10 goals for England, including two crucial strikes at Euro 2004. He has blossomed into a true world-class player since his 2001 transfer from West Ham to Chelsea.
Who's missing: Another real striker, whether it's Jermain Defoe or Andy Johnson. England needs someone to take Rooney's place for the initial stages of the tournament. And it does not have a real backup plan ready except for inconsistent Crouch.
England have reasonably figured out what Paraguay has to offer, winning 2 out of 2 games played till date. The last game, a friendly in 2002, read 4-0 in favour of England.
Mark your date: England v Paraguay, June 10, 1830 IST
England has never faced Trinidad and Tobago in a World Cup game or a warm-up match till now. The latter would be playing in the World Cup for the first time.
Mark your date: England v Trinidad & Tobago, June 15, 2130 IST
Shockingly, England has never won against Sweden. The last time the two teams clashed against each other, England went down 1-0. The Swedes have managed to continue a long unbeaten run against the football giants which stretches back to 1968.
Mark your date: England v Sweden, June 21, 0030 IST
Group C favourite would be profiled tomorrow.