Will Roy Hodgson’s men samba their way into the latter stages of the World Cup in Brazil or will they drive their fans nuts?
We asked a trio of local experts to put their necks on the line to predict how the Three Lions will perform and who they think might win the greatest footballing prize on earth. Here are their views:
Harry Hardy, 87, Ilkeston, the country’s oldest active referee.
“I that England should do quite well.
“You never know though because it all depends how it goes in the matches and on the game days.
“We never seem to have much luck but you never know, we might this year.
“The referees have got an important part to play, it was a bad decision that let us down last time.
“They’ve got lots of help and gadgets this time so there’s no excuses.”
Kevin Wilson, manager Ilkeston Football Club.
“I think Roy Hodgson has been brave with some of his selections in that he’s gone very young, which is good news for English football moving forward.
“It gives the young players the opportunity to be in and around the action which can only be a great experience.
“I think the best England can hope for is to get out of the group stages but even failing to do that shouldn’t be regarded as a failure, as the future is with the young players like Ross Barkley, Raheem Sterling and Luke Shaw.
“In terms of who will win it, I think it’s hard to look past Brazil given their quality and the fact they’re in their own country.
“Spain will be among the favourites of course but they’ve lost a bit of ground recently, so for me it’ll be Brazil who I think will win the World Cup.”
Mark Duffy, ‘Tiser sports editor.
“There’s not a great deal of pressure on England this year which may play into their hands. Should they qualify from their group they’d have a favourable second round draw as Group C isn’t too strong, and on that basis I’d say a quarter-final spot is probably the best they can hope for given the potential matches they could have at that stage.
“Spain’s squad once again looks strong from back to front and if they’re on song they’ll be very hard to beat.
“Brazil will of course be very fancied and I’d also keep an eye on Belgium who have developed a group of excellent players in the last couple of years and could stand an outside chance.”