Manchester United legend and former England international Rio Ferdinand doesn't believe the Three Lions have what it takes to win UEFA Euro 2016, and he doubts whether they'll even manage to advance past the quarter-finals.
England qualified for the upcoming tournament with a perfect record but have struggled at major international tournaments for years, and according to Ferdinand, that won't change this summer.
When asked whether team would advance past the quarter-final stage, he told NDTV (h/t Press Association's Simon Peach for the Daily Mail):
Based on what I have seen I don't think so.
If you got to go through the quarters and the semis and the final of this tournament and potentially win it, you've got to beat a France, you've got to beat a Germany and you've got to beat and/or a Spain.
I don't think England will be able to do that, given what we have seen. I just don't think they are capable.
England will play Russia, Wales and Slovakia in the group stages and are favoured to advance as winners of Group B. If they do win their group, they will meet one of the third-place finishers in the round of 16.
While the draw was reasonably kind to the Three Lions, England's recent history at major international tournaments suggests the team will struggle. They failed to qualify for the knockout stages during the 2014 FIFA World Cup, finishing in last place in Group D.
Since then, a handful of young players have taken the next step in their development, and the likes of Dele Alli, John Stones and Raheem Sterling should play a big role during Euro 2016. The attacking duo of Harry Kane and Wayne Rooney also looked fantastic during qualifiers―although the latter's scoring record at major tournaments is hardly impressive.
The Three Lions have never advanced past the semi-final stage at the European championships, and the Guardian's Daniel Taylor believes fans shouldn't expect too much next summer:
If England were to win this summer’s tournament, they would return home for the open-top bus parade 50 years to the day that Sir Alf Ramsey’s team played their first group game.
Let’s not get too carried away though. Uefa might have given the competition a new bloated look but all the usual suspects are there, bar Holland, and part of the problem for England historically is that they always make grandiose statements they never keep.
England have the young, budding talent to be major players on the international level, but Euro 2016 may come too soon for the side. The likes of Germany, France, Spain and even Belgium all have squads with more depth and experience in key positions, and it's hard to see the Three Lions beating any of those four teams.
Ferdinand hopes the team can grab a spot in the quarter-finals, and while the players will want to do better than that, a spot among the best eight teams in Europe would be a solid achievement for the Three Lions.
Like the new article format? Send us feedback!