World Cup Preview, Group D: England 7 years ago

World Cup Preview, Group D: England

Can England do the unthinkable or will it be another disappointing early exit for the three lions?

Top man

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The expectation of a nation will once again weigh on Wayne Rooney's shoulders as the Manchester United striker has been criticised down through the years for not turning up for the big international tournaments. In many ways, he needs a big performance in Brazil to cement his place as one of the top players in the world.

Rising Star

For once, England have put faith in their youth and their young players go into the tournament with Premier League experience. The player that could light up the tournament in Liverpool's Raheem Sterling. The attacker was in scintillating form at the back end of the season and Roy Hodgson will be hoping for a similar impact in Group D and beyond.

Did you know?

In 1966: Austria won the Eurovision, Atletico Madrid won La Liga, Real Madrid won the European Cup and the World Cup was won by... England. Surely not.

Reasons for Irish fans to support them

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Because it will be fun! We'll look on as the English press build this side up and then tear it apart when they get knocked out in the usual controversial fashion.

If they were a TV series

We have to go with the most overrated TV show of all time, Two and a Half Men. Charlie Sheen's bad-boy reputation was up there with some of England's great lions and both are only funny because they're so bad. Harsh? Maybe. Deal with it.

Prediction

It's such a difficult group for England. If they avoid defeat in the opening game against Italy, we think they'll go through along with the Italians. Hodgson will have them organised and difficult to break down and they have match-winners in Rooney, Sturridge and Sterling. The last 16 draw should be favourable so a run to the quarter final looks do-able.

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Tournament odds with Ladbrokes: 28/1

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