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Hodgson Plays Down Chances of England World Cup Glory

After two impressive victories on the bounce, England manager Roy Hodgson has played down talk of his team tasting victory at the World Cup in Brazil next summer.

Michael Steele

In this country, it's easy to get carried away. We've lived through the 'Golden Generation' that turned out to be not all that golden at all, never progressing past the quarter-finals of a major tournament, and not even qualifying for the 2008 European Championships.

On the back of an impressive attacking display against Montenegro and Poland, Roy Hodgson was quick to play down his sides chances of lifting the trophy next summer:

"It is not always the best team in the competition who wins it," said Hodgson.

"But to suggest that because we have qualified from a difficult group makes us one of the favourites, I don't think many people would believe that."

You can't argue with that logic, two performances against teams like Poland and Montenegro at Wembley doesn't mean we are ready to take on the world in South America. Am I the only one who thinks it's going to be quite nice to go into a tournament with levelled expectation? Do we do the underdog status better than most? Roy Hodgson is absolutely right in playing down expectation.

It was only a month ago that the England team were getting panned left, right and centre for their uninspiring display in Ukraine. While you need to applaud them for their free-flowing attacking style this past week, we need to develop that and maintain it in the sweltering heat of Brazil if we have any chance of progressing out of the group, let alone lifting the trophy.

We can't forget that with England currently sitting #17 in the FIFA rankings, we are unlikely to be seeded for the draw in December. Which means we could/will face one of the tournament favourites, including Brazil themselves. That would make progressing a very tough ask.

"We have grown a lot since the Euros. If I compare today to how we were playing - although the guys did well for me at the Euros - the way the team is playing is pretty different. That is due to two things: evolution, and due to the players now available to us that weren't.

"I would like to think the team is progressing, the way we play does improve all the time. If we can keep these players together, who knows?"

I would say that was an understatement. The team that went to the Euro's was very similar to the team that looked as though it was running through Mud while trying to keep up with the Germans in South Africa two years earlier.

We do have a good balance of experience and youth, but lets not forget that the World Cup is just under a year away, which means there are plenty of opportunities for some of the younger lads to stake a claim to a place on the plane.

England are expected to announce a home friendly against age-old rivals Germany to be played at Wembley in November of this year, with another friendly being scheduled in March against a team to be named after the World Cup drawer in December.