Roy Hodgson has talked up England’s chances of winning the World Cup, insisting his team have a chance of winning in Brazil
Hodgson’s bold assertion comes just 24 hours after one of his predecessors, Sven-Goran Eriksson, said England had no chance of winning the tournament.
Traditionally England’s World Cup build-ups are characterised by fanciful predictions of glory which persist until the first ball is kicked in anger. However, the run-up to Brazil has been accompanied by a more rational, sober assessment of the team’s chances and a general acknowledgement that this time around they are not one of the potential winners.
Hodgson, though, was happy to note that in knockout football, any team can win.
“What makes me think we can win it is that it is a knockout competition,” he said. “If we look at previous tournaments like [Euro] 1992, Denmark didn’t even qualify, they rounded people up from the beaches, and beat Holland on the way to the final and Germany in the final.
“We are not low down the rankings [10th] so anyone who thinks we can’t win has to be barking up the wrong tree. And anyone who comes in with England and thinks we can’t win has to be barking up the wrong tree.
“All I know is that we can work towards it, that the process of winning it is being done as perfectly as possible. With the process we have, and the staff I have, that gives us a really good chance.
“I can guarantee you that the players are 100% committed to winning it even though they know it is a big ask. We’d like to think we will go beyond the group stage, we are planning for it.”
As a rousing speech to inspire his players it was not exactly Churchillian but, to be fair to Hodgson, nor was it Iain Duncan Smith.