Former England captain Rio Ferdinand says that he is not backing the Three Lions to make it out of Group D at the World Cup.
Roy Hodgson’s men drew, arguably, one of the toughest tasks in Brazil, as they prepare to face Uruguay, who impressed at South Africa 2010, Italy, EURO 2012 finalists and Costa Rica.
Although England possess a wealth of experienced stars who have won top honours at club level and a batch of promising young players such as Raheem Sterling and Ross Barkley, expectations surrounding their chances is at an all-time low heading into the opening game in Manaus against the Azzurri.
Ferdinand – who skippered the side in the past – wrote in his column for the Daily Mail that he sees getting out of the group as a task that may be too great for Hodgson’s team:
“If I was a betting man I would not risk money on England getting out of Group D, let alone making it within sight of the semi-finals.
“I’m not damning their chances completely. But let’s have a bit of realism and accept that there are three teams in the section who have a shot at progressing, and three into two doesn’t go.
“I expect Italy to win the group. They have vast experience in their ranks. They’ve got players who have won a World Cup, with Gianluigi Buffon, Andrea Pirlo and Daniele De Rossi among them.
“England will almost certainly need to get the better of Uruguay. That can happen, of course it can. It wouldn’t surprise me if both sides find the net in that second group game, especially if England have had a positive start.
“But is it feasible England could get beaten by one or both of Italy and Uruguay? Absolutely.”