World Cup Team Profile - England
Coach: Roy Hodgson
Captain: Steven Gerrard (Liverpool)
Full England Roster
The Road to Rio: For a team that went undefeated in qualifying, England’s automatic qualification for Brazil was never a sure thing. Thanks to a pair of draws, the English side was never able to fully pull away from second-place Ukraine, despite pummeling lesser opposition like Moldova and San Marino.
England had just a one-point cushion over Ukraine with two matches remaining, against two teams that had also held them to previous draws: Montenegro and Poland. Luckily for the Lions, their final two matches were both scheduled for Wembley.
After a scoreless first half, England dumped four goals on Montenegro before blanking Poland and winning Group H with a one-point and three-goal cushion.
Last World Cup appearance: South Africa 2010 (Round of 16)
First World Cup appearance: Brazil 1950 (Group Stage)
Previous World Cup appearances: 13
Best World Cup finish: Champions (England 1966)
As always, there is no team more scrutinized or analyzed than England and though all of the names on the roster will be familiar, especially if you are a fan of the Barclays Premier League, the real question about this team will be exactly how much damage can they do in Brazil.
The last hurrah of the “golden generation” might have taken place in South Africa after England crashed out of the tournament in a lopsided 4-1 loss to Germany. In the past, selecting veteran players has been one of the hallmarks of the England philosophy and through they will have much experience in their squad, they have also picked a few exciting young players that will be looking to make their mark on the tournament.
Liverpool’s Daniel Sturridge is a player that played his way onto the team and then right into a starting role with the strong season he had and will be one of their key men in the tournament. He will link up with Manchester United striker Wayne Rooney and the two can form a very dangerous partnership when you combine strength on the ball with speed and skill.Adam Lallana starred this season for Southampton and if he can translate that league play to the international game, his ability on the ball will help both England’s forward and defence.
Still the squad will be as effective as their established players can be and that begins with their emotional leader Steven Gerrard, who will wear the armband for England and marshal the midfield. Goalkeeper Joe Hart is considered one of the best in the game and, though he had an up-and-down season capturing the BPL championship with Manchester City, his place as the England number-one was never really in doubt.
Manager Roy Hodgson will use his two holding midfielders and wingers to attempt to quickly transition the ball on offence and press the ball quickly up the field in the hope that Rooney’s skill can carry them home.
England fans know everything there is to know about Uruguay’s Luis Suarez and everything there is to know about Italy, so both of those contests will be must-watch. They’ll need a victory over Costa Rica and to beat at least one of those other teams to keep the dream alive in Brazil.
Not winning the title will not be considered failure for England, but if they can’t find their way into the Round of 16, questions will be asked of the remaining veterans and of their head coach.