Hoddle Predicts England Will Reach the Quarterfinals at the 2014 World Cup

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Hoddle Predicts England Will Reach the Quarterfinals at the 2014 World Cup
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I am going for Argentina to win the World Cup and England to reach the quarter-final.

If England reach the quarters they will be doing well. From there, anything can happen—especially with a bit of luck here and a refereeing decision there. England might make it further, and let's hope they do.

But it's time for a degree of realism. The bookies have got it right. They have already dropped England's odds from winning the World Cup down to 28-1. And let's get even more real—the bookies have put us third-favourite in the group.

It's going to be tough to get out of Group D with Uruguay, Italy and Costa Rica. The bookies are right to have us third-favourites, although I think England can get out of that group.

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I have a hunch the low expectations will work in England's favour. Hodgson's team can relax a bit more, and some of the pressure will be off. There's a good spirit in the camp, and I think it's a positive to have an English manager in charge. No disrespect to foreign coaches, but they haven't helped the mentality of players and staff.

In South Africa we got to the best training camp, but Fabio Capello had his Italian head on, and it turned into a camp that the players didn’t warm to—it didn’t suit them.

Roy has experienced taking a country to the finals (Switzerland), and that will stand him in good stead. He will understand what is required when the games come thick and fast and how to keep the players from being bored. Boredom can be divisive for an England squad.

Roy has been there before and will have learned from that experience, so that will work in his favour.

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He will now spend much of his time looking at the wild-card players who might come through. There is always one—there might be two this time. Someone always unexpected comes in late. In fact, I think there are still eight or nine players he will want to look at, while he will also be hoping that the spine of his team keeps fit and in form.

England are fortunate that Costa Rica is the third game in the group, because Roy doesn't know too much about them. There are so few internationals these days that he will pick up on them far more when the competition starts, and he will have an opportunity to assess them before England play them.

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Naturally, Uruguay will be tough with Luis Suarez on fire, and so too will be Italy. I should know, having had to get a draw in Rome to qualify for the 1998 tournament.

But here’s a good omen: England played Uruguay in their group game in 1966 and went on to win the World Cup. It was a goalless draw with them, which would be a great result again this time round. Perhaps that will be a good omen, so let's say England to win the World Cup!

Only joking.

What worries me the most about England is it takes a striker to score five or six goals to win a World Cup. Do we have one? I don’t think we do.

We do have goals coming from all angles, though. Wayne Rooney and Daniel Sturridge can deliver goals, as can midfielders Andros Townsend, Frank Lampard, Steven Gerrard and Jack Wilshere. I think Sturridge has improved since he joined Liverpool, after having a tough time establishing himself at Manchester City and Chelsea.

It makes me smile when people say Lampard might be too old for the World Cup.

No one said that two years ago about Andrea Pirlo. For me, it doesn’t matter if they are 17 or 38; it's whether they are good enough. So yes, I would take Frank, and I would also keep Frank and Steve for Euro 2016 to pass on their knowledge to the youngsters.

Frank should go to Brazil, and I am sure he will retain that desire to play for his country. He is still going strong with Chelsea, which is crucial.

Ex-England manager Glenn Hoddle is a regular columnist for Bleacher Report UK. Learn more out about Glenn's exciting new website venture, Zapsportzhere.

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