Originally Posted by Nugget
As much as we all have a soft spot for England (aside from our respective teams) I don't think they have the defensive ability to lift the WC. The WC is unlke most of the premier club championships as its less about attractive football as each game is essentially and do or die final.
The teams who do go well are Germany, Brazil and Italy. And I would pick one of those three. The outsider is Argentina. Brazil have a much underestimated defence and really does complement their attacking creativity. The Germans are great at protecting their net and building to taking that one chance to score.
The English really have put too much into their attacking gifts this time around. Rooney, Owen, Beckham, Lampard and Gerrard are five guys any team would want. But if I had to take one guy from the England squad it would be Jamie Carragher - will never let you down at the back.
I'm more a fan of individual English players than their team overall. I disagree with you, however, about the weakness of their defense. Gerrard is one of the strongest tackling midfielders in the world. Cole, Ferdinand, etc. etc. They've got at least half a dozen truly world class defenders.
If anyone's defense proves to be their undoing, I'd go with the Brazilians. Roberto Carlos and Cafu, their main stalwarts in the back, and major pieces of their counter-attacking defensive game, are both getting exceptionally long in the tooth for a defender (about 35).
That being said, they're my 2nd favorite team because of the way they play the game. Such joy and creativity, wonderful. And my favorite player right now is easily Adriano (well, maybe he's tied with Henry, who is also a joy to watch). If anyone hasn't had the opportunity to see this guy, he plays over in Serie A for Inter Milan and is possibly the strongest striker on the ball that I've ever seen (Yes, easily stronger than Rooney, which is really saying something). And with a Brazilian's flair, no less! And a lefty!