Oh dear.. I'm beginning to regret putting £10 on England to win the World Cup. I thought I was being smart when I got odds of 14-1 and saw Rooney, Bent, Defoe and Lampard stay fit and knock in numerous goals this season. We were looking hot to trot and on paper, probably good for a win in the competition that has eluded us for 44 long years.
And then I watched a lacklustre performance against Mexico. Apart from Glen Johnson's goal, we were hardly on fire. And then to yesterday's dismal friendly against Japan in Graz. We won, yes. The manner in which we won was questionable. England won by losing a penalty and by Japan scoring two own goals. Our strike force and solid midfield goalscorers didn't manage to score and had made themselves only a few chances. This, against a team of players who are genetically shorter than average so you'd have thought Crouch would have been a option for his heading ability. Japan also rank 45th in the FIFA world rankings. England incidentally, rank 8th.
And then there's the old chestnut about can Lampard and Gerrard play together in the same midfield? Watching yesterday's match, no they can't. We'll get slaughtered against the better teams. Capello has to choose a defensive, holding midfielder. We have three good attacking options if he goes for Lampard, Joe Cole/Walcott and Wright-Philips/Lennon. Gareth Barry's the obvious choice providing he's injury-free, but there's also Carrick and Scott Parker who should be considered. Playing Gerrard and Lampard together won't work and it will leave us exposed.
Apart from that, a bit more practice in penalties is perhaps needed because we're sure to get Germany in the semi's and Lampard has missed two now on the big occasion. I shall stick with my initial bet for England but will also have a punt on Argentina. The bookies favourites are Spain and Brazil but who can ignore a team which contains Messi, Tevez, Maxi Rodriguez and Militto?