World Cup predictions

How far will England get? The experts have their say


● DAVID PLEAT (Former Spurs manager)

"We will reach the semis at best. Other teams have benefitted massively from our Premier League and I think that it's an indictment that we have very few players coming through.

Winners: Argentina

Dark horse: Serbia

● JOE JACOBSON (Oldham Athletic)

"I can see England going far. They're capable of winning it as the manager has them playing a way which helps them. Rooney is a step up from anyone else in the squad but you can't look further than Spain at the moment."

Winners: Spain

Dark horse: Portugal

● RONNIE ROSENTHAL (Ex-Israel, Liverpool and Spurs)

"For me, England will always be one of the favourites. Lennon will be a key player. I can see them reaching the quarters or semis at best. It will be difficult for them to win."

Winners: Brazil. They always have the best quality and athletic players. I don't think Spain will this time.

Dark horses: Ivory Coast and Italy, who are always compact at the back and know how to win games.

● DEAN FURMAN (Oldham Athletic)

"It's important that England keep their best players fit. If they can start the group well and with confidence, they have players with big game experience. Together with a bit of luck, there's no reason why they can't go all the way. A lot rests on Rooney's shoulders but Lampard's goals from midfield will be crucial."

Winners: Spain. It's difficult to look past them - they showed what they can do at Euro 2008 - and also Argentina, especially if Messi is in-form.

Dark horse: Never look past the Germans. They're always strong no matter what their pre-match form has been like. Argentina struggled to qualify but with Messi and Tevez. The pressure has been off them and I can see them going far."


"Our chances are good. However this is more due to a lack of real threat as the other teams all have real weaknesses or odd managers. This is as good a time as any as bar Spain, all other contenders have problems. I think our first 11 is excellent but our squad is weak."

Winners: Spain

Dark horse: Ivory Coast will do well. Do they count as a dark horse?


"We have a chance of reaching the quarters or semis but I believe the defence is too weak. With Terry having had a bad season, we will struggle against the top teams. We're also too reliant on Rooney as without him we will fail to score."

Winners: Spain - reigning European champions full of confidence and talent will be hard to stop

Dark horse: Holland. They impressed in the Euros and have one of the most in-form midfielders in the world in Sneijder. Van Persie hasn't played for most of the season so will be fit and raring to go

● PHIL PETERS (Team GB & UJS Norstar)

"Would have said last 16 but with Rio injured we'll go a stage further and probably lose to France in the quarter finals. If we abandon 4-4-2 then maybe we'll go further."

Winners: Holland. Brazil are the only team to have won outside their continent so they've got a great chance and Spain and Argentina definitely have the strongest squads on paper, but I fancy Holland to do it with Van Persie as top scorer (which pains me to say as a Spurs!)

Dark horse: Ivory Coast.(if Drogba's fit). Playing in Africa might be worth a bet and if Kim Jong Iif he flexes his political muscles and hovers his finger over the red button then North Korea at 2000/1 are a sure bet!

● TONY GOLD (London Lions manager)

"Quite simple really, we don't have a chance. Capello is a great manager and his record in qualifying was excellent, but then you would be very disappointed if England didn't qualify from that group given the teams in it. However, as far as I can see nothing has changed as far as our set up is concerned, our style of play and the way we play. The squad contains far too many important players out of form and I honestly believe defensively we are an accident waiting to happen. The attacking left side of the squad still remains a huge problem with Capello still unsure who is the right man for the job. Another problem for me is the Lampard/Gerrard issue. Capello has to release Gerrard further forward in order for him to bring the same quality he shows at Liverpool every week but at the moment he looks very short of confidence. To have any chance of winning all the so-called big boys have to play to their best, they will of course need a fair amount of lady luck along the way also. I believe England will stagger through to the second round, make hard work of that and do the English thing we all expect, lose in the quarter-finals on penalties no doubt.

Winners: Brazil. Tough one because there are so many good teams. You can't rule out the usual suspects who know what it takes to win big knockout tournaments. Germany will be there or there-abouts although they have a huge injury crisis. Argentina certainly have the craft, skill and experience to do it again although I'm not Maradona is in any fit state to be managing. France could surprise a few as could Holland who for years have threatened but just always fallen short (similar to England really). Italy are much younger now and have lost a lot of experience so not sure they carry enough to do it. Spain having won the Euro's and shown that they can find the big tournament form to win should also stake a big claim but I am going to be boring and say I honestly can't see past Brazil. They are the masters of the beautiful game, they are the masters of winning World Cups. They know what it takes and how to carry out and execute a master plan. The quality they possess throughout the team is frightening and where they use to have one possible weakness in goal, they now have one of the best around. Brazil to win for me.

Dark horse: Ivory Coast. With Sven Goran Eriksson at the helm anything is possible. He is very experienced and knows how to win games at tournament level. The team also carries an exceptional amount of talent, Didier Drogba, Salomon Kalou, Aruna Dindane, Yaya Toure, Didier Zokora, Kolo Toure, Emmanual Eboue and Guy Demel. Two things count against them, firstly they have a very tough group to qualify from in Brazil, Portugal and North Korea, secondly, they have always had dodgy keepers which doesn't bode well in any cup competition. Should Eriksson get the balance right and get Ivory Coast playing to their strengths then I honestly believe they could cause a few upsets and even a massive shock by actually winning it.

● DARRYL LEE (manager , South Manchester Maccabi)

"We're very reliant on our first 11. It's very rare that the team that starts is the same as the one that finishes the competition. I'm not sure if we have the quality of personnel on the bench. Without Ashley Cole, Gerrard and Rooney, we're very lightweight. If everyone stays fit and we rotate sensibly, I think the quarter-finals would be the minimum target. I think that had he been selected, Adam Johnson could've made the difference.

The usual suspects – Brazil, Argentina, Italy and Germany are traditionally slow starters, but know how to win the competition."

Winner: Brazil

Dark horses: Holland (from Europe) and Ivory Coast (if Drogba's fit)

● JONNY DAVIS (chairman, South Manchester Maccabi)

"I think we'll get out of the group and reach the semis but I wouldn't like to put my house on it. The first game is the most important as if we were to lose then we'd have a problem. But it's a very wide open competition."

Winner: Argentina

Dark horse: Holland

● DANNY CARO (JC Sports Editor)

England: "The heart says yes, the head says probably not. I think he has selected the four best strikers for the job. I was surprised that Capello didn't pick Walcott, who offers something a little different as he showed in the Champions League semi-final first leg. It was a big call and quite possibly a brave one. He could have gone as well as Lennon and SWP. I would have picked Robinson ahead of Green but with the squad picked, I just hope everyone gets behind the boys."

Favourites: Argentina. "I can't believe that England were better priced as they are littered with so many potential match-winners, none more so than the little magician Messi.. 80-1 on them to win it and Tevez to be top-scorer is very tempting.

Dark horses: England. "We can all dream. Maybe, just maybe …"

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