ROSTER

  • Coach: Fabio Capello
  • Goalkeepers: David James (Portsmouth), Robert Green (West Ham), Joe Hart (Manchester City)
  • Defenders: Glen Johnson (Liverpool), Michael Dawson (Tottenham), John Terry (Chelsea), Matthew Upson (West Ham), Jamie Carragher (Liverpool), Ledley King (Tottenham), Ashley Cole (Chelsea), Stephen Warnock (Aston Villa)
  • Midfielders: Steven Gerrard (Liverpool), Frank Lampard (Chelsea), Michael Carrick (Manchester United), Shaun Wright-Phillips (Manchester City), James Milner (Aston Villa), Aaron Lennon (Tottenham), Joe Cole (Chelsea), Gareth Barry (Manchester City)
  • Strikers: Peter Crouch (Tottenham), Emile Heskey (Aston Villa), Wayne Rooney (Manchester United), Jermain Defoe (Tottenham)

SCOUTING REPORT

Style of play: Coach Fabio Capello has ditched the 4-4-2 diamond formation employed by his predecessors for a more progressive 4-2-3-1 that revolves around star striker Wayne Rooney. Either Emile Heskey or Peter Crouch will be the lone forward, who will try to hold up the ball and create space for Rooney, who drops back to pick up the ball and roam freely. Fullbacks Ashley Cole and Glen Johnson will use their pace down the wings, giving the attack a sense of width and thrust, while central midfielders Gareth Barry and Frank Lampard will act as defensive filters in front of the back line - although Lampard routinely makes penetrating runs forward from a deep position. Steven Gerrard (on the left side of midfield) and Aaron Lennon (on the right) will also venture forward, looking to link up with Rooney.

1st round matches:

  • June 12 vs. United States in Rustenburg
  • June 18 vs. Algeria in Cape Town
  • June 23 vs. Slovenia in Port Elizabeth

Projected starting lineup (4-2-3-1): (GK) Robert Green - (D) Ashley Cole, Jamie Carragher, John Terry, Glen Johnson - (M) Steven Gerrard, Frank Lampard, Gareth Barry, Aaron Lennon - (F) Wayne Rooney, Jermaine Defoe

Strengths:

  • Midfield: Like Spain and Brazil, England boasts a stacked midfield with players who provide an array of talents, including Frank Lampard and Steven Gerrard (power and goals), Michael Carrick and Gareth Barry (solid two-way play), Aaron Lennon and James Milner (speed) and Joe Cole (creativity).
  • Coaching: Since taking over this team two years ago, Capello has whipped a squad of underachieving stars into shape. The Italian is an astute tactician and a master of getting the very best out of his charges.
  • Confidence: Thanks to Capello, England is rightfully brimming with confidence in its ability. The Three Lions breezed through the qualifiers, giving them a much-needed winning mentality and sense of self-assuredness as they head to South Africa.

Weaknesses:

  • Goalkeeping: Who does Capello go with as his No. 1 goalkeeper? David James, who has vast international experience but is comically error-prone? Or the unproven Robert Green? Or the inexperienced Joe Hart? The fact is England doesn't have a world-class 'keeper it can rely on.
  • Questions in defence: Starting centre back John Terry has lost a step and is coming off average campaign, while partner Rio Ferdinand was ruled out with an injury. Fullbacks Ashley Cole and Glen Johnson missed time due to injuries, Ledley King is hobbled with a knee problem, and with few quality options on the bench, Jamie Carragher was convinced to come out of international retirement.
  • Injuries: Aside from those defensive casualties, some other key players for England will likely enter the tournament at less than 100 per cent, including star forward Wayne Rooney and influential midfielder Gareth Barry.

Players to watch:

  • Steven Gerrard - His limitless talent aside, Gerrard is a clutch performer. In whatever way he can, be it a crunching tackle, a deft pass, a penetrating cross or a timely goal, Gerrard always performs when his team needs him.
  • Frank Lampard - Noted for his endless energy and driving runs, the Chelsea star is not only one of the best midfielders in the world, but he also supplies a steady stream of goals for his country.
  • Wayne Rooney - The Manchester United forward is sublime with the ball at his feet, burning defenders with his speed, drive, strength and dribbling. He is one of the best goal-scorers in the world.

Key injuries/squad omissions: In a bit of a surprise, youngster Theo Walcott did not make the squad. Star forward Rooney missed games late in the Premier League season with an ankle injury, but coach Fabio Capello maintains he will be fully fit for the World Cup. The prognosis isn't as positive for midfielder Gareth Barry, who suffered ankle ligament damage late in the season and might not be fully recovered in time for the star of the World Cup. Defender and team captain Rio Ferdinand was ruled out after suffering a knee injury in a recent training session. Midfielder David Beckham (Achilles tendon) and forward Michael Owen (hamstring) were ruled out due to injuries, as were defenders Wes Brown, Kieran Gibbs and Joleon Lescott. Left back Ashley Cole broke his left ankle in February and only recently returned to action. Fellow defender Ledley King has also been hampered by recent injury problems. Defender Wayne Bridge refused to play for England in the wake of former captain John Terry's alleged affair with his former partner. Calgary-born midfielder Owen Hargreaves, wingers Stewart Downing and Ashley Young, goalkeeper Paul Robinson and forwards Bobby Zamora and Gabriel Agbonlahor did not make the cut

Prognosis: Quarter-finals. If only the English had a world-class goalkeeper and a bit more depth in defence. But for those two factors, the Three Lions would have to be considered top contenders, alongside Spain and Brazil. England's weaknesses at the back will be its undoing in the end, preventing them from ending their World Cup drought after 44 years.

ROAD TO SOUTH AFRICA

  • Current FIFA ranking: #8
  • Qualification route: England finished in first place (27 points) in Europe's Group 6 ahead of Ukraine (21 points).
  • Key to qualification: The Capello factor. England progressed through the qualifiers without much fanfare, grinding out results in an efficient manner and with great focus. That's down to Capello, who helped to change the glamour and Hollywood culture of the English locker-room.
  • Crucial result: An emphatic 5-1 win over Croatia (Sept. 9, 2009 in London) allowed the English to book their spot at next year's World Cup, as well as exorcise their Croatian demons from the Euro 2008 qualifiers.
  • Qualifying record: 10 games played, 9 wins, 0 draws, 1 loss
  • Goals for: 34
  • Goals against: 6
  • Top goal-scorer in qualifying: Wayne Rooney (9)

Qualifying results: (home team listed first)

  • Sept. 6, 2008 - Andorra 0, England 2
  • Sept. 10, 2008 - Croatia 1, England 4
  • Oct. 11, 2008 - England 5, Kazakhstan 1
  • Oct. 15, 2008 - Belarus 1, England 3
  • April 1, 2009 - England 2, Ukraine 1
  • June 6, 2009 - Kazakhstan 0, England 4
  • June 10, 2009 - England 6, Andorra 0
  • Sept. 9, 2009 - England 5, Croatia 1
  • Oct. 10, 2009 - Ukraine 1, England 0
  • Oct. 14, 2009 - England 3 , Belarus 0

ENGLAND AT THE WORLD CUP

  • Number of World Cup appearances: 12
  • All-time record: 55 games played, 25 wins, 17 draws, 13 losses
  • Goals for: 74
  • Goals against: 47
  • Biggest victory: 3-0 vs. Poland and Paraguay in 1986 and 3-0 vs. Denmark in 2002
  • Biggest defeat: 4-2 vs. Uruguay in 1954
  • Overall top scorer: Gary Lineker (10 goals)
  • Most appearances: Peter Shilton (17 matches)
  • Hosted the World Cup: 1966

World Cup track record

  • 1930 to 1938 - Did not enter
  • 1950 - First round
  • 1954 - Quarter-finals
  • 1958 - First round
  • 1962 - Quarter-finals
  • 1966 - CHAMPIONS
  • 1970 - Quarter-finals
  • 1974 - Did not qualify
  • 1978 - Did not qualify
  • 1982 - Quarter-finals
  • 1986 - Quarter-finals
  • 1990 - Semifinals (4th place)
  • 1994 - Did not qualify
  • 1998 - Second round
  • 2002 - Quarter-finals
  • 2006 - Quarter-finals

TEAM HISTORY

Profile

  • FIFA member since: 1905
  • Team nickname: Three Lions
  • All-time caps leader: Peter Shilton (125)
  • All-time leading scorer: Bobby Charlton (49 goals)

Notable Achievements

  • Under-21 European Champions: 1982, 1984
  • Under-19 European Champions: 1948, 1963, 1964, 1971, 1972, 1973, 1975, 1980, 1993

Legendary Players

  • Bobby Charlton: One of the seminal figures in English soccer, Charlton was a key member of the England squad that won the epic 1966 World Cup in Wembley Stadium. Charlton scored a record 49 goals in 106 appearances for England and was voted European player of the year in 1966.
  • Bobby Moore: A legendary defender who made his pro debut at age 17. Moore captained England's 1966 World Cup squad to glory on home soil. He first suited up for England in 1962 and earned 108 caps before retiring from international competition in 1973.