England aims high at World Cup

10:52, May 15, 2010      

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Fabio Capello, Wayne Rooney, the team's dominance in the European qualification and a comparatively easier group give England great confidence to come to South Africa as one of the favorites at the upcoming World Cup.

Capello, 63, is exactly the savior of the "Three Lions". The reputable Italian manager took over England in December 2007 after the team suffered a heavy blow for not qualifying for the 2008 European Championships.

He wasted little time in building a formidable formation for England, instilling the distinguished defense philosophy of Italian soccer to the team.

Under the helm of Capello, who once led AC Milan, Rome, Juventus and Real Madrid to domestic league titles, England came through the World Cup qualifying campaign with flying colors.

They stormed to win nine out of 10 matches in Group 6, only knocked down by Ukraine after they have secured the berth in the finals with a winning streak of eight.

Capello believes that England is one of the best in the world and his trump card is the Man United star Rooney.

The former Everton trainee burst onto the Old Trafford stage in September 2004, netting a hat-trick on his debut.

The powerful forward played in the shadow of Portuguese star Cristiano Ronaldo for six seasons but has never been losing his ambition on the pitch.

When he is finally able to play his favorite position the center forward at Man United, after Ronaldo joined Real Madrid last year, he becomes more prominent with a total of 34 goals for the "Red Devils" this season.

In the national team's journey in the World Cup qualification European zone, Rooney contributed nine goals in six games.

When Rooney damaged his foot in the Champions League quarterfinal against Bayern Munich in April, then aggravated his groin injury in Man United's last Premier League on May 9, the national team's fans held their breaths, because there are great expectations that this team could achieve much better after two quarterfinal finishes at the 2002 and 2006 World Cup.

Even more optimistic, many believe that England is likely to repeat the home soil victory in 1966.

England is lucky to avoid strong rivals such as Portugal, Cote d'Ivoire and France in the group stage and the team's biggest threat might come from the United States, which stunned European champion Spain at last year's Confederations Cup. The other two teams in Group C - Algeria and Slovenia - could hardly steal the show.

Source: Xinhua


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