And so begins another quest for England’s second World Cup. The Three Lions return to Brazil, where they made their first ever world cup appearance in 1950, and continue chasing the ghosts of 1966′s beloved championship squad.
While it has advanced beyond the group stage in every World Cup for the past 24 years, England will have to scrape and claw to make the knockout round this time. A crowded Group D that also features Italy and Uruguay should provide quite a test.
Going in England’s favor is that many of its players star in the EPL, and have a familiarity with one another. This cohesion should make up for any lack of skill or athleticism they give up to other squads. However, the Achilles’ heel for the Three Lions is a common story: tightness. Can they break reins and create if needed? Or will their conservatism hold them back?
Below is a full preview of the Three Lions, along with England’s World Cup odds.