The stage is set for the greatest show on earth and the ball is rolling. The countdown has begun for the grand World Cup in Brazil next year, as the beautiful game goes to its spiritual home. Of course, it’s inevitable that the competition would attract interest, but a few old men in suits hogged all the World Cup attention this week. The draw for the competition was released, and the customary search for the group of death ends with Group D. Italy, Uruguay and Costa Rica find themselves pitted alongside England.
Of course, a lot of the limelight will be focused on the 3 Lions, and rightly so. The team has some of the most famous and well loved players across the globe, and their home league is the most watched football league, aside from being arguably the best domestic competition in World football.
The national team though, is a very different story. Their underachievement at the international stage has been well documented and is a running sub-plot at every international tournament. It’s a bit of a surprise to many that England have been this poor on the international stage, and as you can see in the infographic, except for a win in ’66 on home soil, and the semi’s in 1990, England have never really set the cup on fire. There have been some memorable moments, such as the ones provided by Beckham and Owen against Argentina in the years gone by.
In recent times though, England have scored fewer and fewer goals at the World Cup, exiting the last tournament in South Africa with a whimper after a thrashing at the hands of the Germans. This time, the team looks like it could struggle to go through to the group, as they’ve been pitted against Italy and Uruguay, two teams that gave a good account of themselves at the Confederations Cup last year, and importantly, had a chance to gauge the conditions in Brazil. England will hope that notoriously slow starters Italy stay true to tradition, and that Suarez doesn’t bite the FA back for what he’s faced in England. Costa Rica should be a win on paper, but they aren’t to be taken for granted; this is after all the World Cup.
England at the World Cup