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England's World Cup Squad - Can the English win the World Cup in Germany?

Eriksson has chosen three goalkeepers for his England squad to go to the Fifa World Cup - Germany 2006:

Paul Robinson
Must be regarded as England's number 1 after a very solid season with Spurs. Has improved over the season after looking a little indecisive at times early in 2006. Robinson Appears to be going to the World Cup at the top of his game and must surely give confidence to his defence. It is hoped Robinson keeps his fitness throughout, as the other two potential 'keepers do not inspire much confidence.

David James
James' nickname is Calamity, and with good reason. Many England fans will hope David doesn't take to the pitch, as he is prone to the odd catastrophic error.

Robert Green
It's a little disheartening, given England's tradition of producing goalkeepers, that Green is in the squad. He has not performed at the top level in England and really is only there to make up the numbers. There are, however, few other candidates who could have gone in his place.

Eriksson has good strength in his defensive department, and has called up an experienced and capable back line of seven defenders as follows.

Gary Neville
Has always been solid and dependable in defense for England, and his International experience is not in doubt. He will start at Right back in all the matches he's fit for.

Ashley Cole
It's good to see Ashley Cole back to peak fitness in good time to make the World Cup squad. He's a class act and his attacking left sided play is very important to England's chances. His pace is a definite asset. A sure starter at Left back.

Wayne Bridge
A little Surprising to see his inclusion in England's squad because he's hardly had any match football recently, due to injury. Bridge can only be going as an understudy for Cole. Should not be needed to play unless injuries necessitate.

Rio Ferdinand
Rio has the chance to prove to everyone that he is truly world class. He should revel in the big occasion and has got pace and ability. The only worry with Rio is that mentally he's not the strongesty. Ferdinand will start in central defence but must be in confident mood to produce his best.

John Terry
Will start alongside Ferdinand at the heart of the England back four, and must step up to the plate as a leader. He needs to organise and boss the defence, because Rio certainly won't. Terry will need to be vocal in his organisation of the defence. Minor concerns with Terry are his lack of pace, and his robust style, which may lead to disciplinary problems.

Sol Campbell
Sol has had a crazy year, but has come to form just when it matters. He will not let England down. Even if he starts ahead of Terry or Ferdinand (which is very unlikely), he will be dependable. Should be preferred to Carragher, should injuries or suspensions make changes necessary.

Jamie Carragher
Jamie must only play if absolutely necessary, due to injuries e.t.c. He is an average performer in several different positions and is in the squad as cover. Will get found wahting at the top level.

Erikssons real strength lies in his midfield, which is undoubtably England's strongest area. However, one or two eyebrows were raised by some of his selections. He has picked a total of nine midfielders.

David Beckham
The captain of England's World cup team must provide his best in this tournament. Beckham is possibly the World's best known face of football, and this will probably his last chance on the world stage. If he performs to his ability, he will raise the whole team.

Michael Carrick
It's difficult to see Carrick in the starting lineup as Sven has not used a five man midfield. Carrick will however be a big success if he is used, as he can orchestrate proceedings from deep midfield, giving others license to roam forward. Carrick may prove to be England's man of the tournament if Eriksson uses him wisely.

Frank Lampard
Lampard will surely start in central midfield and should be allowed to venture forward at will. He has a devastating shot and frequently gets on the scoresheet. England will need his goals if they are to progress a long way in the tournament.

Steven GerrardWorld's best midfielder? Stevie G can possibly win the World Cup on his own, he really is that good. Sven must get get him forward and make him into a goal threat. Gerrard needs to be involved in everything for England. Carrick in the side would definitely release him forward to do so.

Jermain Jenas
It's hard to understand why Jermaine is going, he's a very lucky boy. He's a good player, but I can't see where he fits into the plan, as all the other midfielders bar one command their places. It's difficult imagining how he will be required.

Owen Hargreaves
Hargreaves is clearly a favourite of Eriksson, but many English fans will be hoping he does not set foot on the pitch in Germany. With all the quality midfielders in the squad Hargreaves is an absolute waste of a squad place.

Joe Cole
Cole is the most improved English player of the season, and his skill and trickery can defeat any side. A possible star if he is allowed a free reign to express himself. If Sven makes the most of him he could be a match winner.

Stewart Downing
It'sood to see Downing in the squad, as without him the English are lacking in width. He may be an unlikely starter if the 4-5-1 formation is employed, and should provide crosses from the left for the front player(s).

Aaron Lennon
Similar to Downing, Lennon gives England width, pace and trickery. He may be an efffective bench man if used late in games to attack down the right. Untried at International level, but has impressed in the Premiership.

Eriksson has produced a strange mix of players as front men and has also made gambles that may backfire on him. He has only picked four forwards, which seems to leave England a little under strength.

Wayne Rooney
England's best player, and possibly the World's. Unfortunately he's injured at the moment, but the latest reports show he is ahead of his recovery schedule. All England is hoping he will be ready for thefirst game, but realistically, he will probably miss at least the first two. This makes Sven's decision to take just 4 strikers all the more puzzling.

Michael Owen
Owen now becomes England's biggest hope for goals, but is still worryingly unfit. Owen will probably start up front alone with 5 midfielders providing support. International defences know all about Owen and fear his pace, so he will be an important man for England.

Peter Crouch
There's a distinct possibility that Crouch will start as England's main striker if Rooney & Owen both remain unfit. If that happens, England are in deep trouble. Crouch is not up to the standards expected of the World Cup, and will struggle to score. At 6 feet 7 inches he is too ungainly and awkward.

Theo Walcott
17 years old and has not played for his team Arsenal, yet alone England. His inclusion, at the expense of more experienced strikers was bewildering. From what I've seen of him,which is very little, he looks encouraging, and he maybe useful coming off the bench in late bursts - as Owen used to be.

Overview: Eriksson seems to have left England without too many options up front, which seems to suggest he is favouring a 4-5-1 system instead of his usual regimented 4-4-2.
4-5-1 would allow Gerrard, Lampard, Beckham & Joe Cole licence to attack at will from midfield, and nobody - not even Brazil would relish that prospect.

It has to be said that Jenas & Hargreaves could have been left out of the squad, because of the excellence of all the other midfield players selected. This would allowed for Jermaine Defoe plus another striker to be in as attacking options. As it is, with only the untried Walcott on the bench, England may be found wanting in front of goal.

About the Author: Norbert Wartle covers stories on the England Football Team for the website Football England

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