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England vs. Scotland Should Be Here to Stay in the International Calendar

Published: November 19, 2014

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In the last 25 years, England vs. Scotland has been something of a rarity. Since the annual Rous Cup, introduced in 1985 to fill the gap left by the discontinued Home Internationals, was itself discontinued partly due to concerns over crowd violence, the two teams have faced each other only a handful of times. Five times, in fact: The semi-final of Euro 1996, the two-legged qualifying playoffs for... 

England Still Suffer from Jitters at the Back Despite Excellent Attacking Play

Published: September 9, 2014

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The mood swings when it comes to the England team are an amusing affair. After the World Cup, and indeed the lacklustre friendly win over Norway, doom and gloom was the prevailing mood, with Steven Howard in the Sun (subscription required) describing that performance as worse than that in Brazil. After the excellent display and victory in Switzerland, which kicked off England’s European... 

Does Hodgson See Raheem Sterling as an Impact Sub for England at the World Cup?

Published: May 31, 2014

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As we know from years of experience, one should not read a huge amount into pre-tournament friendlies. They are historically games in which the England manager tends to experiment ahead of the matches that really matter. The standard of opposition is generally lower, because in most circumstances the teams faced in these friendlies haven’t qualified for the tournament England are about to play... 

Hodgson Can Pick for England’s Future and Present at the World Cup in Brazil

Published: May 9, 2014

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The England manager’s job is, to all intents and purposes, basically impossible. The main problem is that there is no middle ground, no shades of grey in the eyes of the English press and public: Unless you win either the World Cup or the European Championship, someone will regard you as a honking failure. It’s for this reason that Roy Hodgson faces quite a conundrum when he names his England... 

England at the 2016 European Championship: Reasons to Be Cheerful

Published: February 24, 2014

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Are there any events in the sporting world that have a bigger disparity between the fanfare with which they are presented and the actual excitement they bring than the draws for major championships? The draw for the 2016 UEFA European Championship was typically uneventful, not least because, for the bigger teams at least, it really didn’t matter what came out of the hat (or, more accurately these... 

6 Reasons Why the World Cup Should Be Taken Away from Qatar

Published: February 18, 2014

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To say the 2022 World Cup in Qatar has not been met with universal approval is quite an understatement. From the heat to Qatar’s rather questionable human rights record to the proposed switch from the promised summer tournament to one in winter, it would not represent a huge shock if FIFA were to remove the tournament from the Gulf state. But should they? The tournament was, after all, awarded... 

Joe Hart vs. Fraser Forster: Who Should Be England’s Keeper at the World Cup?

Published: February 2, 2014

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The second half of this season will have one question hanging over it for the English players in the Premier League: Who will feature in Roy Hodgson‘s World Cup squad? Next month, Hodgson will name his squad for a friendly against Denmark, and while he will have plenty of key decisions to make in the run-up to Brazil, one of them could be who to play in goal. At present, Hodgson‘s first-choice... 

World Cup Draw: Tough for England, but It Could’ve Been Much Worse

Published: December 6, 2013

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One of Roy Hodgson‘s problems is that he’s often too honest. If you ask him a question, the chances are you’ll get an answer. It might be a rather “wordy” answer that he has to apologise for afterwards, but Honest Roy will tell you the truth. So when he was asked which World Cup draw he wanted to avoid, he said Manaus, deep in the dreaded humid Brazilian rainforest. And... 

Wayne Rooney Needs England for His Legacy, England Just Needs Wayne Rooney

Published: December 3, 2013

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Ask an Italian, a Spaniard, a German who England’s biggest threat will be at next summer’s World Cup and they will say Wayne Rooney. Hell, ask most English people and they will probably say Rooney. And at the moment, it’s quite difficult to argue with them. Rooney is in a rich vein of scoring form, with 12 goals this season and six in his last six Premier League games. However, from... 

England in Brazil: Not the Worst, Not the Best, Just What We’re Stuck with

Published: December 2, 2013

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And so, England qualified for the World Cup and will be in Friday’s draw, with the minimum fanfare. England making international tournaments these days is reminiscent of an episode of The West Wing, in which a substandard vice-presidential candidate is forced upon the incumbent administration. “Not the worst, not the best—just what we’re stuck with,” says communications... 

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