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How Far Can England Go In South Africa?

LONDON - APRIL 01:  John Terry of England celebrates scoring his goal with Wayne Rooney during the FIFA 2010 World Cup Group 6 Qualifying match between England and Ukraine at Wembley Stadium on April 1, 2009 in London, England.  (Photo by Ryan Pierse/Getty Images)
Greg SiddellCorrespondent IApril 1, 2009

With England struggling in the second half against the Ukraine, the question has to be asked, can England win in South Africa?

After beating Slovakia very convincingly, England fans had high hopes of a repeat performance against the Ukraine. Although the result was the right one from an English perspective, the performance was not so convincing.

With players like Gerrard, Rooney, Lampard and Ferdinand in the team, there is always a chance of something special to win games, but with the other players around them, can England compete in the next World Cup.

After watching both games this week, it has been noticeable that there is a gulf in class from the top English players to the best of the rest. Players like Cole, Johnson, Lennon, Barry and Crouch from both games, alongside Upson, Downing and Heskey who only played the Slovakia game, are not even close the standard of the stars of the team.

This puts an incredible amount of pressure on the leaders of the team, namely Gerrard, Lampard, Rooney, Ferdinand and Terry to perform to the maximum every time they step out onto the pitch. Against a lesser team this may not be a problem, but when England come up against a Germany, Italy, France or Brazil to name just a few, will we be able to cope.

As a No. 9 world ranking would suggest, England should probably be looking to get to the quarterfinal of the World Cup, which coincidentally is where we usually get knocked out.

The sooner that England fans realise the we cannot live on the dream that we can win the World Cup because we have a couple of world class players, then there will be less pressure on the manager and then maybe we will find an English manager who wants to lead us to success.

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