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C is for comfortable

England must progress as Group C winners, says Merse

Paul Merson - Paul Merson Posted 4th December 2009 view comments

There's no excuses for England now... Fabio Capello couldn't have wished for a much kinder draw.

Maybe if you were hand picking the easiest group you'd swap the USA for New Zealand, but apart from that the draw has been very kind to England.

If we don't go through as winners from Group C then we won't win the World Cup, it's as simple as that. If we can't beat Algeria and Slovenia then we can't expect to go on and beat teams like Brazil, Italy and Spain.

Capello: should be pleased

Capello: should be pleased

I fully expect us to win this group easily. I suppose there is always a fear of complacency, but this isn't the Europa League, this is the World Cup. Surely none of the England players are going to take their eye off the ball when they get to South Africa.

Don't get me wrong, you've got to get a bit lucky to progress through this tournament. One fluke result can see you go out or one bad piece of defending can cost you a game - but I'd still expect us to win this group.

Drilled

The first game against the Americans should be the hardest. The USA are well drilled and they are always going to be difficult to beat.

I fully expect us to win this group easily. I suppose there is always a fear of complacency, but this isn't the Europa League, this is the World Cup. Surely none of the England players are going to take their eye off the ball when they get to South Africa.

Paul Merson
Quotes of the week

I watched Algeria in their play-off against Egypt and I'm still not sure how they got through that game. I thought at the time that whoever drew Algeria would beat them no worries. If we're worried about that game then we might as well not go over.

Slovenia had a great result to beat Russia over two legs in the play-off, but again I feel that's a kind draw.

This group is a great result for the USA too and I expect them to go through as runners-up. However, Algeria and Slovenia will be as happy as Larry too. They'll all probably look at England as group winners and fancy their own chances against each other.

Ideally we want to make sure we win the group so we are playing the runners-up of Group D, which features Germany, Australia, Serbia and Ghana.

However, I don't think Germany will go through. I know they always seem to pull it out of the bag when we get to a major tournament, but I think this could be a World Cup too far.

You write them off at your peril, but I think they could be the major casualty from the group stage.

I'm sure all of the England players will have been watching and for the 16 or so guys that are certainties to go - John Terry, Steven Gerrard, Frank Lampard etc - this draw will really have brought home to them that they're going to the World Cup.

And I'm sure they're well pleased with that draw.

I was confident about England's chances before the draw and I certainly haven't changed my mind. If they are all fit and we can put our strongest team out in the big games I think England can be a match for anybody.

Paul's predictions - who will go through?

GROUP A: Mexico and France
GROUP B: Nigeria and Argentina
GROUP C: England and USA
GROUP D: Ghana and Australia
GROUP E: Holland and Denmark
GROUP F: Italy and Paraguay
GROUP G: Brazil and Ivory Coast
GROUP H: Spain and Chile
WORLD CUP WINNERS: England won't be far off, but whoever beats Spain will win the World Cup

Comments (36)

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Kurtis Duke (Portsmouth fan) says...

Well Consediring all the the comments i think it will be either Brazil because of kaka, ronaldinho and pato or spain could win it with the likes of Ramos and Villa but it could could even be england. Cos England have Ben Foster, John Terry, Ashley Young and Darren Bent but then David James, Glen Johnson, Aaron Lennon and Gabriel Agbonlhor but it is a shame Russia did not qualify cos they have Andrey Arshavin and Roman Pavlyuchenko. Germany could win it with Tim Wiese, Per Mertesacker, Bastian Schweinsteiger and Mario Gomez.Or it could be France with Hugo Lloris, Patrice Evra, Franck Ribery and Karim Benzema. Or maybe even Holland with Maarten Stekelenburg, Gregory van der Wiel, Rafeal Van Daar Vaart and Klaas-Jan Huntelaar or even Italy With Buffon, Cannavaro, Pirlo and Iaquinta. So there is my reveiw of the best qualified teams COME ON THREE LIONS!!

Posted 19:57 10th January 2010

Lungelo Dube (Arsenal fan) says...

I agree with you james they always say they are going to win the world cup everytime and then they fail. i dont see anything chaging this time they'll get knocked out in the last 16 when they come up against ghana or germany.

Posted 11:37 13th December 2009

Rick White (Crystal Palace fan) says...

I would love england to win it but realistically it won't happen. We are only back to the level we should be at. We have some great players but not a squad full of them like Spain and Brazil. Perhaps we could get to the semi's but I cannot see past Spain or Brazil. But I do think the return of Joe cole will be vital for England. I think he is very underated.

Posted 12:24 8th December 2009

Scott Pollard (Leeds United fan) says...

To James McNeil wonder how Scotland will do in this world cup.... Oh wait forgot they didnt even get that far... Think England wont win it but hopefully get closer than last time round which is nice...

Posted 10:55 8th December 2009

Trevor Loring (West Ham United fan) says...

I think England shoul win the group with maximum points but we no that wont happen and it will come down to the last game and we will just scrape through. Lennon has to go to the world cup he will terrify most defences with his pace and with Beckham as his back up. What Capello sees in SWP i never no he is so over rated. Our main worry is if Rooney gets injured as we dont have anyone to fill in defoe is good but not a rooney. I also think for a defensive midfielder if Hargreaves isnt fit Scott Paker would be an ideal replacement

Posted 04:35 8th December 2009

N A (Chelsea fan) says...

England have a chance if Capello can capture some of the spirit that we had in 90 and 96 plus we catch a bit of luck when you need it. Nothing would please me more than seeing England crowned champs of the World but there are question marks in some key positions - We need a stable Goalkeeper and no one is impressing so far, who partners Terry if Rio doesn't get back to his best, who is the right partner for Rooney? No matter how much pride we have in the team there are other strong teams who have no question marks due to the strength in depth. On our day we can beat anybody so here is hoping for plenty of them next summer, in the meantime, lets set this one up as we are humble yet confident instead of the media telling the world we are the best and then we look stupid going out. Time to walk the talk and not just talk!

Posted 16:14 7th December 2009

Paul Collins (Arsenal fan) says...

andrew s i for one arent bashing england i hope we can win it but the key part of your comment was "a lot depeneds on rooneys fitness" that tells you everything. if rooney doesnt produce then none of the others will, gerrard and lampard have never produced on the big stage(in fact they both miss penalties when we last went out in the world cup 4 years ago.) beckham despite his hype has never done anything against a big side in a world cup from open play(wont frighten anyone) and our defence apart from john terry is suspect. spain pick teams like us off. i mean say rooney gets injured who do we have replace him? crouch? defoe? bent? none of them good enough at national level agains tdecent sides. compared to the quality the other major teams possess we aint got enough. brazil have so much qualit ythey dont miss ronaldinho, robinho or fabiano. spain lose xavi and iniesta who do they have? yes alonso and fabregas. england will get close but just run out of steam again when it matters. rooney is our main threat and if he isnt delivering then we will come unstuck all over the park

Posted 12:04 7th December 2009

Karl C (Aston Villa fan) says...

Victor Cruz from Norwich, you whinge about Portugal and praise them for knocking England out. 2000 I admit, England were absolutely awful after the first 20 minutes of the tournament. However, 2004, you cheated sooooo much - all the diving I thought I was watching a swimming gala! And 2006, what a fluke! England get no assistance, especially from Sepp Twatter and Michel Pratini (who incidentally rigged the playoff system to give you guys and France more favourable games), we just happened to score more goals than any other team in the world during qualifying which I believe merits a seeding if only on entertainment value. Remember Victor Cruz, Portugal are in the same division of World football as your chosen club team are in the league.... GO ON ENGERLAND :))

Posted 11:54 7th December 2009

Nikhilesh G (Chelsea fan) says...

How can you rule out Germany ???? you must be mad in ruling out Germany . i think you are afraid of facing Germany in group of 16 's but england chance of getting the world cup is like osama bin laden getting captured by britain,s troops

Posted 11:53 7th December 2009

Vijay B (Arsenal fan) says...

Stating the obvious, Paul. But no, I'd never bet against the Germans. They jus are the rockstars of World Cups. Fingers crossed.(And Gutted as India never qualifies!!) My pick for the England line-up: GK: Foster (Get a transfer to Arsenal, dude), Hart (Ditto) Green Defenders: Johnson Brown Ferdinand Upson Terry Lescott Cole Bridge Midfielders: Hargreaves Barry Lampard (Be jus you, Super Fank) Dunn (Yes, you read that right) Gerrard (Show, you belong there, Stevie) Joe Cole Beckham (Bend it, David!) Milner Lennon Forwards: Rooney Walcott (Ya, time has come) Defoe

Posted 10:40 7th December 2009

Mark White (Tottenham Hotspur fan) says...

I think that Englands group will be the group of "Enlightenment", all the teams will fancy themselves as winners/runners-up in this group, and therefore progressing! None of the games are easy for England, but, they can all be won! Capello is a shrewd man and I feel confident that he will get the very best from the team. If and when we get to the knock-out stages, then this is when the real world cup starts! Cmon England!!

Posted 09:11 7th December 2009

Matt Waterton (Arsenal fan) says...

England have looked good under Capello and played some decent football as well as getting the results. We will easily win the group and go on to face Australia in the next round, bring it on! Aussies have been living off of a single friendly result back in 2003 for far too long, stick to what you know Australia which is basically rugby league, the only sport in the world that no other country gives a toss about, oh and Aussie rules, dont even need to go into that one! beat you in the ashes, beat you at the rugby world cup, now you'll get even more of a hiding at the WORLD GAME! waltzing matilda? what a crap song!

Posted 07:39 7th December 2009

Lee Steadman (Aston Villa fan) says...

i can't belive you *Dazza Mack * for making such stupid comment about the reult that was in 2003, Its just like saying remeber when liverpool beat the villa 5-1 when steven gerrard scored a hat-trick but then this year liverppol lost to villa 3-1, your stupid and you reli should think about what your saying! England should easily win the group and after watching games and tourments like brazil england last month and the euro i don't think we should fear anyone but the weather! England to win!!!!

Posted 00:44 7th December 2009

Victor Cruz (Norwich City fan) says...

Steve Pratt from Manchester, the winkers will knock you out again for the fourth time in a row (euro 200, euro 2004, WC 2006 and WC 2010) Hey, what happened in the euro 2008, oh yes we couldnt knock you out because - you didnt qualify!!!) and what a joke England being seeded when Portugal have qualified for every tournament in the last ten years and knocked the blighters out on each occasion and are currently 5 in the rankings and England 9th. Never mind about France being cheats, its the English that always get assistance.

Posted 17:53 6th December 2009

Jase Auluck (Manchester United fan) says...

For me, tournaments are all about special players producing special moments, from Carling Cup to European Cup to Wold Cup. When the game is cagey, teams look to their 'stars' to produce magical moments and before you know it, its full-time! Thats why Brazil and Spain are ultimate favourites because they have have a few 'average' players and the rest are special players. Thats the difference between them and other teams, who have a couple of special players and the majority average. I know we can't have a Brazil-Spain final since they both on same side of draw, so my prediction would be an Argentina-Brazil/Spain final. Argentina can rely on the 'most special player' in the world and although he's not playing his best football for Argentina, Messi can inspire the rest of his team mates. England have always bottled it come quarter-finals or semi-finals, and lack self-confidence of being the best in the world. Brazil carry swagger, Spain have world-beaters, and Argentina have Leo Messi!

Posted 12:48 6th December 2009

Johnny Leonard (Colchester United fan) says...

great draw for England... couldnt really ask for any more.. however getting past the 2nd round will be difficult, espescially considering we shouldnt really face any problems in the group stage... for me Serbia will win that group... and i have a feeling Ghana will grab that 2nd spot and that would be no easy tie for England... but the Germans are the Germans and although i think this is the weakest they have been for a while they still know how to turn up to major tournaments and i would hate having to play them should they go through

Posted 11:51 6th December 2009

Rory Sheedy (Tottenham Hotspur fan) says...

David H (Celtic Fan), I¿m guessing you are a jock. At least we're in the world cup. It makes me laugh sometimes when people like you are on here talking rubbish, yeah we might not win it and yeah, Spain are better than us, along with a few other teams, but if we get to the semi's or even the quarters then that¿s fine. Just because the jocks rank alongside Lithuania doesn't mean you should try and dash our hopes. Go and idolise Mel Gibson for god¿s sake and stop leaving pathetic comments.

Posted 02:19 6th December 2009

Lawrence Kamara (Arsenal fan) says...

I can't believe that prediction for group D. There isn't a chance in the world that australia and ghana will be the ones making out of that group. Germany have exceptional world class stars like Phillip Lahm, Micheal Ballack, Mario Gomez and Miroslav Klose to name but a few and with Low managing them the least they should expect is the semis. Serbia are a great side too. They've got, in my opinion, the best centre back in the world in Vidic, a very class striker in Valencia's Nikola Zigic, and a tough, battling midfield with the likes of Wolves' Millijas. I guarantee Australia will be rooted to the bottom of their group and Ghana will definitely struggle for goals as all their talent lie in the midfield P.S France through? No chance P.S.S. Japan and Cameroon should definitely be considered contenders for a place in the last 16

Posted 01:15 6th December 2009

Dav(england fan) Murray (Liverpool fan) says...

to david h.. celtic fan.. stop worrying about what the best teams in the world are going to do..worry about the fact that your own league of no consequence is not much longer going to be dominated by a couple of bigoted clubs..and europe will be a much better place without you.. goodnight.

Posted 00:45 6th December 2009

Paul Collins (Arsenal fan) says...

england will get close but dont think we will win it. got a feeling spain will win it now theyve lost their big game sickness where they used to choke. only team i see competing with them for the trophy is brazil. dark horses are the ivory coast. drogba will scare anybody and they have a decent side also so do ghana

Posted 00:08 6th December 2009

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