The Three Lions will open their campaign with a tricky tie against Italy on Saturday, before playing Uruguay and Costa Rica in Group D.
With a tough pool of teams, a relatively inexperienced squad and some disappointing displays in recent major tournaments, expectation surrounding England’s hopes in Brazil is at a real low, with many predicting elimination before the knockout phase.
But Cole – who starred for his country in 2006 – feels that there is a genuine chance of reaching at least the quarter-finals, and possibly even lifting the trophy for the first time since 1966:
“My heart says we can win it,” he told talkSPORT. “I think from the quality of the squad and from what I hear from inside the camp, anything less than the quarter-finals would be disappointing.
“I have watched all three friendlies and I’m very happy. Forget the two draws I think the performances have been good and Adam Lallana, Raheem Sterling and Ross Barkley all look sharp, but it was disappointing to lose Alex Oxlade-Chamberlain.
“I genuinely think England have got a massive chance here because those three boys in particular look fearless and Steven Gerrard has got the bit between his teeth too. I’m quite positive about it all.”
Cole himself recently completed a shock transfer to Aston Villa after disappointing spells at Liverpool and West Ham either side of a loan stint in France with Lille.