England - World Cup 2006 Team Profile
The Ranter reports...
England Kit 1
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England Kit 2
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Once again expectation and hype overshadow realism in the build
up to a major tournament. England go into World Cup 2006 as one
of the bookies'
favourites, with large amounts laid on the national team, despite
the forty long years that have past since 1966 and all that.
The Great White Hope this time around is Wayne Rooney for whom
Euro 2004 was so cruelly cut short by injury. Will the weight of
a nation's expectation be too heavy a burden for the young Manchester
United player to bear? The evidence of his short career to date
suggests that Rooney will thrive upon the pressure, rather than
wilt in the face of it.
There are surely too many question marks placed against the England
side for the team to be considered realistic title challengers.
How will the team cope in the knowledge that their manager is soon
to leave? Can the key players - Robinson, Ferdinand, Gerrard, Lampard,
Beckham, Owen and especially Rooney - remain fit and fresh after
a grueling English season? Is coach Eriksson adaptable enough to
influence the outcome of a tie positively?
Tottenham's Paul Robinson has at last provided a resolution to the
goalkeeping situation despite his relatively shaky club form. With
stability England will be able to build upon an excellent defensive
unit. Gary Neville, Rio Ferdinand and John Terry provide an outstanding
basis for the back four, with doubts surrounding the fitness of
Ashley Cole and Sol Campbell only. England can cope without Campbell
- having Ledly King, Wes Brown, Jamie Carragher and Jonathan Woodgate
in reserve - but the potential loss of Cole and his understudy,
Bridge, is a devastating blow.
In midfield England boast genuine World Class talent in Frank Lampard,
David Beckham and Steven Gerrard - with the rapidly improving Chelsea
player Joe Cole likely to make up the quartet. But can Erikson strike
the right balance with no natural defensive midfielder in the side?
The suspicion is that Eriksson will turn to Tottenham's King, a
defender by trade, to provide cover in that area should the need
Up-front Eriksson faces a quandary despite boasting two of the world's
most lethal forwards in Michael Owen and Wayne Rooney. The scouse
pair has yet to strike-up the kind of empathetic partnership that
most fans suspected they would despite their individual brilliance.
Reserves, too, are in short supply with Eriksson likely to take
just four strikers. Peter Crouch, Jermain Defoe and Charlton's Darren
Bent will compete for two squad places.
Qualification was achieved with relative ease and the recent friendly
victory over Argentina in Geneva has given credence to those who
believe England can compete at the highest level. However, the record
in international tournaments is poor since that sole victory in
1966. A quarter final place at both World Cup 2002 and Euro 2004
was a poor return for what - individually - is the most talented
group of English players in living memory. That coach Eriksson has
been unable to bring the best out of them is scant reward from a
man billed as the world's best.
• Winners of the 1996 World Cup
• Semi-Finalists at the 1990 World Cup
• Semi-Finalists at Euro '96
WORLD CUP RECORD
11 appearances (1950, 1954, 1958, 1962, 1966, 1970, 1982, 1986,
1990, 1998, 2002)
White shirts, navy blue shorts, navy blue socks with a red trim.
David Beckham (Captain)
Height: 180 cm
Weight: 75 kg
Club: Real Madrid
International career: 87 caps, 16 goals
A talented right-sided midfielder often known more for his good
looks and celebrity status, than his performances on the pitch.
However, his phenomenal work-rate, pinpoint crossing and stunning
free-kicks make him a valuable player despite his lack of pace.
In possibly his last major international tournament, Beckham will
desperately want to lead his country to victory.
Club: Manchester United
International career: 29 caps, 11 goals
A lot rests on this young man's shoulders but the phenomenally talented
forward should be one of the stars of the tournament. With a mesmeric
first touch, power and pace in abundance, and an eye for goal England's
hopes depend on the Manchester United player's performances. He
has grown in stature with each passing week. England may not be
a great side, but neither were Argentina in 1986 and look what Maradona
did for them!
International career: 38 caps, 10 goals
The Chelsea midfielder has come of age in the last two seasons,
putting in increasingly classy performances for club and country.
His trade-mark late runs beyond the forwards into scoring positions
could be the difference in the crucial matches but how will the
lack of a defensive midfielder affect his game? In recent England
matches the absence of Steven Gerrard has enhanced Lampard's
game, but with both fit Eriksson will play the pair in central midfield.
Can Lampard adapt?
International career: 40 caps, 6 goals
The outstanding Liverpool player has rarely hit the peaks of his
club form at international level. Yet he is undoubtedly one of the
World's leading players in the engine room, combing relentless drive
and energy with a fearsome shot from distance. World Cup 2006 could
yet cement Gerrard's burgeoning reputation. It better had, for it'll
be the last World Cup at which he is at his physical peak.
Sven-Goran Eriksson (58). Billed by his supporters as one of the
world's best coaches, the Swede will leave the job after the World
Cup under something of a cloud after successive scandals. Results
on the pitch have also been something of a disappointment - with
an excellent qualification record at World Cup 2002 and Euro 2004
spoilt by poor showings at the tournaments themselves. It would
take some mightily impressive tactical nous to lead England to glory
in 2006. Can he do it?
World Cup Squad
Goalkeepers Paul Robinson (Tottenham), David James (Manchester
City), Robert Green (Norwich); Defenders Gary Neville (Manchester
United), Rio Ferdinand (Manchester United), John Terry (Chelsea),
Ashley Cole (Arsenal), Sol Campbell (Arsenal), Jamie Carragher (Liverpool),
Wayne Bridge (Chelsea); Midfielders David Beckham (Real Madrid),
Michael Carrick (Tottenham), Frank Lampard (Chelsea), Steven Gerrard
(Liverpool), Owen Hargreaves (Bayern Munich), Jermaine Jenas (Tottenham),
Stewart Downing (Middlesbrough), Joe Cole (Chelsea), Aaron Lennon
(Tottenham); Strikers Wayne Rooney (Manchester United), Michael
Owen (Newcastle), Peter Crouch (Liverpool), Theo Walcott (Arsenal).
England World Cup 2010 Profile