Steve Lomas column: England will fall short in World Cup bid

Each week, The Hunts Post will tell you all that’s happening at St Neots Town. And their manager, former Northern Ireland international captain Steve Lomas will be airing his views on the subjects that matter in football. In the first week of his column, he analyses England’s World Cup chances ahead of their opening clash against the USA on Saturday.

SO MUCH of England’s World Cup fate is going to depend on the start they can make to their campaign on Saturday.

If they hit the ground running and start to gather momentum, then confidence will grow, but they also know that if they don’t get the result against the USA, they will get slaughtered at home.

Fabio Capello has a lot of big decisions to make – he has to choose between Heskey and Crouch up front, work out who he’s playing wide left, and choose a replacement for Barry in the centre, so he has plenty of issues facing him.

I think he’ll start with Heskey up top and Rooney just behind, in a 4-4-1-1 formation. He’ll be loyal to the system that got England to the World Cup, and it doesn’t make sense to abandon it now.

The loss of Rio Ferdinand is a huge blow for England. I know Rio, and really feel for him at the moment, especially as this could be his last World Cup. He must be distraught, but he has to look at the positive and remember the injury could have been much worse.

As always, a lot will depend on whether Wayne Rooney can find the kind of form to destroy teams on his own. England should make it through the group and with the draw they have, they could make the semi-finals with a bit of good fortune.

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I still think that they don’t quite have the players to win the whole thing though. England have four or five players you could call world class, but when you look at some of the other teams at the tournament, their strength in depth is frightening.

Argentina, Brazil and Spain have some players who can take you to pieces on their day.

If England can build a head of steam coming out of the group stage, who knows what could happen?

Once you’re in the second round it’s a cup competition, and you look to the players who can create something from nothing, which is why I’m so delighted that Joe Cole will be going. The form and impact of players like him – and Rooney, Steven Gerrard and Frank Lampard – will determine how far England can go.

Steve Lomas

Manager, St Neots Town