Latest England odds to qualify from Group a touch of value as Uruguay & Italy test ahead

For once England travel to a World Cup with little pressure on them to exceed, as their odds to win Group D at 9/4 could prove a touch of value.

Manager: Roy Hodgson
World Cup best:
Winners (1966)
How they qualified:
Winner European Group H

England remained unbeaten during qualification, edging out Ukraine for first spot after a final game 2-0 victory over Poland.

Four of their six wins did come against the European minnows of San Marino and Moldova, drawing all three away matches against competitive nations.

No side who have six sides in their group conceded fewer goals than England during qualifying, despite the international retirement of Rio Ferdinand and John Terry.

Star player: Wayne Rooney (Manchester United)

Since a brilliant Euro 2004 for Wayne Rooney, the Manchester United forward has struggled at major championships.

One goal in major tournaments is hardly the return you expect from a striker who looks certain to become England’s highest goalscorer of all time.

Arguably at 28, Rooney is in the peak of his career and if he can replicate his club form on the biggest stage, England can go far.

One to watch: Ross Barkley (Everton)

Like Rooney, Ross Barkley has come through the Everton academy and he has really emerged as a top class player after Roberto Martinez’s appointment.

Barkley’s performance’s in Brazil may be more from the bench, however there is a real player there and his youthful exuberance my force him through quickly.

Strengths

England will be taking an incredibly young side to the World Cup, although Roy Hodgson has selected in-form players from Liverpool and Southampton.

The strength in depth in midfield is surprisingly strong, with the likes of Gareth Barry and Michael Carrick excluded (the latter is on the standby list), and with such a youthful side there is little in the way of pressure this time round.

Weaknesses

Despite their lack of goals conceded in qualifying, England’s biggest worry is defensively.

Gary Cahill and Phil Jagileka have both enjoyed excellent seasons for their clubs, however they are a level below the standard of Ferdinand and Terry.

Ashley Cole has also been left out of the squad, meaning England’s back five (with the exception of Glen Johnson) with be an inexperienced one.

How far can they go?

A defeat to Italy in the opening game would make qualification a real uphill battle, however a positive result should see them progress.

England will draw a side from Group C should they finish in the top two and Hodgson and co would be confident against any of those four.

Squad

Goalkeepers: Fraser Forster, Ben Foster, Joe Hart

Defenders: Glen Johnson, Phil Jones, Phil Jagielka, Gary Cahill, Chris Smalling, Leighton Baines, Luke Shaw

Midfielders: Alex Oxlade-Chamberlain, Jack Wilshere, Jordan Henderson, Adam Lallana, Raheem Sterling, Steven Gerrard, Frank Lampard, James Milner, Ross Barkley

Forwards: Wayne Rooney, Daniel Sturridge, Danny Welbeck, Rickie Lambert

Group D
Uruguay
Costa Rica
England
Italy

Fixtures

Saturday 14th June: England vs. Italy 23:00
Thursday 19th July: Uruguay vs. England 20:00
Tuesday 24th June: Costa Rica vs. England 17:00

Lewis Jones has over 5 years experience in web publishing, having worked at a number of well known UK facing sports websites. He can be reached at Google+ for more information.

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