Nothing unites a nation quite like the self-professed “greatest show on earth” and every local football fan will have his or her own opinion of watching England, Italy, Brazil or any other qualifying team play in the next few weeks. But while we look forward to the World Cup with hope and expectation, spurred on by a sometimes hysterical media, England with it’s proud heritage of being the home of football as well as boasting what some consider the most popular domestic league on the planet, has nearly always underachieved. There is one notable expectation of course, although that was 48 years ago.
This year there is less expectation of how well the England team will perform than there has been in previous tournaments, but that could well play into the hands of a side that has so often felt the strain of a nation’s hopes. One thing is for sure, there will be many memorable moments to look forward to in the rollercoaster that is being a football fan, whether they be good or bad.
England are in Group D along with Italy, Uruguay and Costa Rica. England’s fixtures in the group stage, and the television channel that will broadcast the match, are shown below (kick-off times are in BST):
England v Italy: June 14, Manaus, 23.00, BBC
Uruguay v England: June 19, Sao Paulo, 20.00, ITV
Costa Rica v England: June 24, Belo Horizonte, 17.00, ITV
Sports editor Dan Lake says “I think that expectations are not as huge as they have been in previous tournaments, which could help England, and I like the look of our squad. It is exciting, it has a bit of youth in it and a bit of experience. Wayne Rooney needs to have a big tournament for people to speak about him in the same terms as Lionel Messi and Cristiano Ronaldo and if he does do that I think England will go far.”
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