Nickname: Three Lions
FIFA/Coca-Cola World Ranking: 8
England will be making their 13th appearance in the World Cup, having won the trophy once before. They were placed in Group C alongside the USA (ranked 14th), Algeria (ranked 30th) and Slovenia (ranked 25th). They kick off their World Cup with their biggest match, a meeting with the USA on June 12 that could very well decide the group.
After failing to qualify for the European Championships in 2008, the Three Lions responded in great fashion in World Cup qualification, winning nine out of ten matches. In fact, their only loss happened after they had already clinched a place in the World Cup.
England are coached by Italian Fabio Capello, whose no nonsense style has helped get this extremely talented team back on track in a short amount of time. Capello values discipline and hard work, and he has managed to unite this team that one time looked like a bunch of great players with big egos.
England is not only the favorite to emerge from this group, but they are many people’s favorite to win the whole competition.
England is loaded in terms of talent, and it all starts up front with Wayne Rooney. The Manchester United forward was outstanding during qualifiers and managed to score nine times in nine games. He is regarded as one of the best players in the world.
The key figures for England in the midfield are Steven Gerard and Frank Lampard, who are both very complete and intelligent players. They were originally set to be joined by perhaps the world’s most well-known soccer figure, David Beckham, but after an Achilles injury he will not be playing in the World Cup.
The Three Lions are captained and led on defense by John Terry, who is regarded as one of the best defenders in the world.