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Monday 23 October 2017

World Cup team preview: England

It's getting closer... 19 days to go until the World Cup and next up on our list of team previews are our old friends England.

What to expect from Roy Hodgson and his team? Will they give youth a chance or give some of their long-serving warriors a chance to capture the world's greatest prize.

With the likes of Luke Shaw, Ross Barkley, Raheem Sterling and Daniel Sturridge in their 23-man squad, Hodgson has the chance to breathe a new lease of life into the English setup.

Very promising offensive options are tempered by a lack of experience at the back. A lot of pressure will fall on the shoulders of Gary Cahill who was outstanding for Chelsea last season.

The form of Wayne Rooney could also be crucial and the Manchester United man needs to deliver a big tournament for the Three Lions.

Group D: Italy, Uruguay and Costa Rica

Tournament odds: 28/1

How they got here

England qualified for the World Cup after topping Group H of the European qualifying zone.

Victory in their final qualifier against Poland at Wembley guaranteed them top spot, banishing the demons of four decades earlier when a draw against the same opponents saw the Three Lions miss out on the 1974 tournament. 

It wasn't all plain sailing for England despite being undefeated as they drew twice with against closest rivals Ukraine, as well as stalemates in Warsaw and Podogorica.

Key Player

Difficult to decide on who is going to be the key player for England but i think it will be Joe Hart.

For England to progress deep into the knockout stages their number one will have to be at his very best.

Unbeatable on his day, Hart was brilliant in Man City's title run-in after suffering a number of setbacks earlier in the season.

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Joe Hart

Something you didn't know about England

The annual "Cheese Rolling" event on Cooper's Hill, Gloucester, sees hundreds of competitors race against each other to chase a large piece of cheese down a very steep hill. The event normally results in multiple injuries.

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