Group D: England

Expectations, for a change, are low but England could yet do well

World Cup 2014 Team, World Cup

The team: Decades of under-achievement finally seem to have dampened out-of-control expectations, and England can arguably head to Brazil without any pressure. This is probably for the best, because recent form suggests just reaching the knockout stages will be a success. Qualification was a painful slog against mediocre opponents, with passage to Brazil only secured courtesy of a last game victory over Poland. Recent friendly defeats at Wembley to Chile and Germany, and an underwhelming 1-0 victory over Denmark, have hardly boosted confidence, leaving England looking vulnerable in a tough group.

The coach: Roy Hodgson

Vastly experienced coach Roy Hodgson possibly has the toughest job of his career with England. Having managed all over the world, including a spell at Italian giants Inter Milan, he certainly knows how to deal with pressure. But leading England to success seems almost impossible.

Key player: Joe Hart

He may have had a shaky start to the season at Manchester City, resulting in him being dropped from the first team, but the 27-year-old goalkeeper bounced back to help his team win the Premier League. With England facing some strong strikers in this group, Hart could be in for a busy summer.

Facts

World ranking: 11
World Cup appearances: 13
Previous best: Winners in 1966
Qualification: Winner of group
Form (qualifiers): WDWDWDWDWW
Fixtures: June 15 vs. Italy; June 19 vs. Uruguay; June 24 vs. Costa Rica

More from Sport & Wellbeing, Sport, Fitness, World Cup

Running backwards, bad thrusting, skin tight clothes and no regrets

Brave Combat Federation has big plans for mixed martial arts in Bahrain

Step off the treadmill and get outside to these al fresco sports

TV show aims to inspire, as well as entertain with white collar boxing

From Bondi beach to Bahrain, Cheryl Rodrigues has come a long way

Brand-new boxing club and Janabiya-based gym open in Bahrain

Newsletters

Follow us