Ryan Nelsen of the All Whites celebrates winning the FIFA World Cup Asian Qualifier match between New Zealand and Bahrain at Westpac Stadium on Nov. 14, 2009. ((Hannah Johnston/Getty Images) )

New Zealand captain Ryan Nelsen is predicting England will reach the final of next month's World Cup in South Africa.

The Blackburn Rovers central defender said England had a team capable of reaching the final for the first time since 1966.

"I just think it's England's time," Nelsen said.

"My final is England-Spain or England-Brazil. Everyone laughs at me when I say it."

Nelsen said his prediction might seem laughable, given England's poor World Cup record, but he believes it's based on sound logic.

"It's going to be played in winter, it could be wet, and they're conditions that England thrive in," he said. "Every other World Cup has been played in hot, humid conditions and England notoriously aren't very good in it.

"They're my dark horses to win it. I really hope England go all the way. Because I live there and have a lot of English friends I'd like them to do well."

England is expected to advance to the second round from Group C, which includes United States, Slovenia and Algeria.

Nelsen's New Zealand squad, at the World Cup for the first time since 1982, is in Group F with defending champion Italy, Slovakia and Paraguay.