Can Rio Lead England To Glory?

As England’s final 23 man squad has been announced by Fabio Capello, attentions must now turn fully to the tournament in South Africa and as we (the fans) gear up for the tournament to begin, one question remains unanswered:

Can Rio lead England to World Cup glory in this tournament?

It is not as simple to say yes or no, as many aspects need to be taken into consideration between now and a possible final appearance on July 11th in Johannesburg. Let’s consider these aspects.

Injuries and suspensions

With any team, in any tournament, injuries and suspensions are always going to play a part of the process, especially the further into a tournament your team progresses. The key is how the squad deals with these injuries and suspensions.

England progressed without these playing a major headache for the coach and with pre-tournament injuries settling down and doubts over Messrs Rooney and Barry appearing to be nullified, it will just be a case of how we deal with potential injuries and suspensions in the tournament.

The team which deals with them the best, will probably progress to the semi-final stage at least.


Probably the key ingredient to any success in a sports tournament, think Maradona’s ‘hand of god’ in Mexico ’86 and you see what I mean. England are due a tournament were luck is on our sides and this maybe that tournament.

We are a pessimistic nation, who feel the footballing gods are always against us, this maybe the case, but this has to change and there is no time like the present for this to change.

Temperatures are more English at present in South Africa and other than David Beckham, we had a full complement of players to select from, the early signs are promising…


Blackpool are a fine example of having momentum on your side in the latter stages of a season or a tournament as are newly crowded Champions League winners, Inter Milan, they played better and with more confidence as the tournament progressed.

England qualified with ease and have won the pre-tournament friendlies without playing particularly well. Let’s get through the group stages without any major concerns and then we can build momentum from there.

Wins breed confidence and that will be key to our chances in South Africa.


A lot has been said about playing football at altitude and how quickly it can affect the performance of the players, who haven’t taken the time to adapt to these conditions, let Argentina’s humiliating 6-1 defeat away to Bolivia in the altitude influenced conditions of La Paz, Bolivia.

England have spent time preparing in altitude conditions in Austria and this will bode well for the team when playing in the tournament, but it appears many of the qualifiers have done similar training camps.

It will only be a problem, if the players let it be and I doubt it will be to be honest. Do you agree?

Fabio (pictured below)

England manager Fabio Capello

Arguably the toughest job in football, has been undertaken with apparent ease by Mr Capello thus far and his disciplined, no-nonsense approach has paid dividends up to this point.

His pedigree speaks of success and though many doubt having a foreign coach in charge of the English national team, frankly, when he was appointed, I was happy and remain happy to this day.

We need to trust in Mr. Capello, allow him to make his squad choices and judge him once this tournament is over.  Are we really better qualified than him to judge his abilities and decisions? I think not.

Other Teams

We cannot control the decisions, actions, displays and abilities of the other 31 teams competing in this World Cup. Though I must say, I think it could be arguably the most open tournament to win and outside of the joint tournament favourites, Brazil & Spain, most teams have a chance.

We have to take this positive and be ruthless in our approach, not worry about the opposition and realise that former powers like Germany, Argentina and France, are not the teams they use to be.


Scoring goals will be key to this tournament but equally as important will be keeping clean sheets, something the current England team have struggled to do lately.

We now have our preferred back four and goal-keeper choices and need to start the tournament solidly and build from there. Throw in a reasonable goals return from our attacking players and we will have a fantastic chance of winning in South Africa.

Please note this is easier said than done and the inclusion of Emile Heskey, is to create scoring openings for those around him, so can people please, stop going on about his goals return.

Impact Substitutions

In modern football, the use of substitutes has become a key tactical element of winning football matches at all levels o the game and England need to maximise this aspect of the game.

Hence the inclusion of possible impact players like Aaron Lennon, Peter Crouch and most notably Jermain Defoe (pictured above) leave England with plenty of possibilities to come onto the field of play, should the game be going against us.

These players also have the potential to change the game and bring it back into England’s favour.

Below is the final squad of 23 and the opening group fixtures for England for your perusal.

England’s 2010 World Cup Squad:
Goalkeepers: Joe Hart, David James, Robert Green.
Defenders: Jamie Carragher, Ashley Cole, Rio Ferdinand, Glen Johnson, Ledley King, John Terry, Matthew Upson, Stephen Warnock
Midfielders: Gareth Barry, Michael Carrick, Joe Cole, Steven Gerrard, Frank Lampard, Aaron Lennon, James Milner, Shaun Wright-Phillips.
Forwards: Peter Crouch, Jermain Defoe, Emile Heskey, Wayne Rooney

Group Fixtures

Sat 12th June: versus U.S.A. 7.30pm kick off live on ITV1

Fri 18th June: versus Algeria 7.30pm kick off live on ITV1

Wed 23rd June: versus Slovenia 3.00pm kick off live on BBC1

Other fixtures depending qualification and group placing.

Finally, a quick poll to gain a consensus for your thoughts on whether or not England can win the World Cup.

Cheers for reading and enjoy the tournament.




2 Responses to “Can Rio Lead England To Glory?”

  1. ashwinvk84 Says:

    I truly believe this could be England’s year…. but it comes down to team cohesiveness and chemistry….. England have always been the perennial under achievers….. hopefully they can get their head together for the duration of the world cup……

    • gafferssportsblog Says:


      Thanks for your comment, I hope your right and England do win and the points you made are extremely valid.

      Time will tell but we have a very good chance, it’s now about the talking stoping and the England team putting their actions into place and producing the goods.

      Cheers, Gaffers

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