Alan Brazil: England will struggle at World Cup

The talkSPORT presenter thinks that Roy Hodgson’s men will not get past the group stages in Brazil.

With some refreshing new faces in their 23-man squad, there has been visible optimism amongst English fans that their national side will do well at the World Cup.

However Alan Brazil feels that they need to temper those expectations.

“I think they will finish third (in Group D),” he told FourFourTwo during the recently concluded SCC International Soccer Sixes launch event.

“The first game is all so important. If they lose against the Italians, I don’t think they will qualify.

“If they draw that game and get another draw against Uruguay, then perhaps they can beat Costa Rica and qualify.

“Honestly I think they will struggle to come out of the group, I do. I think they may be unlucky, maybe just missing out through goal difference. To qualify (for the knockout stages) is a bonus for them.”

England manager Roy Hodgson has opted for a relatively youthful squad, with a number of them making their first appearances at the FIFA World Cup finals.

Brazil believes that could actually work in their factor, as he looks forward to the performances of the Merseyside duo of Ross Barkley and Raheem Sterling.

“When you go in there with youth, there is no fear and expectations,” he said.

“Sometimes because of that, things may just click.

“I will love to see Barkley play. He’s a big, strong lad. Everyone who have seen him play, say that he is a special talent, just like how (Wayne) Rooney was.

“Also Sterling is playing very well for Liverpool. His confidence has grown and if he continues in this manner, he could be an outside bet (for a starting slot). Opponents could notice and say ‘Wow, who is this guy?’"

Given his Scottish nationality, the former Manchester United striker is crossing his fingers that England do not end up as surprise winners of the trophy.

“Coming from Glasgow, it’s very difficult (for me to support them),” he said.

“I’ll like them to do well, but not too well. If they win it in my lifetime, people will keep reminding me!”