England Will Win

Brad SimkuletSenior Analyst IJune 6, 2008


This is England’s year.

Like many squads in Europe, they have the quality. Unlike many squads in Europe they are nearly injury free, and that will make them unstoppable in Euro 2008.

Just consider their component parts.

“Calamity” James has had his run of bad luck in International competition—most glaringly at the Euro 2004—but he is most certainly due for that run to come to an end. He won back his Number One spot from the doomed Paul Robinson with an excellent season at Portsmouth—capping the season of his life with an FA Cup winners medal. Not too shabby.

England’s defense is in damn fine shapes as well. The first choice line of Terry (and his "English backbone"), Ferdinand, Ashley Cole and Wes Brown (the weakest link in the foursome), is as stingy as they come, and the depth of center backs, with Lescott, Campbell and Woodgate always threatening for a spot, makes England solid at the back no matter the vicissitudes of injuries.

Their midfield is none too shabby either.

Even with England's perennial weakness on the left, Fabio Capello (England's best manager in years) has the goods to see England come good. Joe Cole, Stevie Gerrard, Owen Hargreaves and David Beckham (who is still a force even while in self-imposed exile in the USA) is strong enough to make a go at the finals, and certainly more than adequate to feed Rooney and whomever he partners with up front.

And, again, the depth in midfield is nothing to sneeze at—Lampard has the potential to be fantastic off the bench, Bentley is more than adequate cover for Becks, Joe Cole can bring a creative spark at any time, and the youngsters, Walcott, Wright-Phillips, Reo-Coker, can all do some damage if called upon.

And up front, Don Fabio is building the team around England’s most talented player, Wayne Rooney. The great Italian coach sees that Rooney is as key to Cristiano Ronaldo’s success as he is to Man Utd’s, and Capello's doing the right thing by making the England squad about Rooney.

Who partners him is another matter, but there are enough choices to be excited about England’s chances—Crouch (and his awkward deadliness), Defoe (and his mercurial speed), Heskey (and his workhorse acumen), Owen (and his magic poaching touch), Agbonglahor (and his everything) give England perfect combinations no matter the occasion, no matter the opposition.

Capello has the choices all over the pitch to make England a threat from the group stages to the finals.

So I pick England to win Euro 2008, and there is no reason they can’t.

Oh, wait a second...