As the biggest stars in world football descend on Brazil, Dylan White takes a look at some of the points that have been getting the top pundits talking.
In a week that’s seen every player in football worth his salt linked with a move to Old Trafford, Diego Costa passing a medical at Chelsea and a number of World Cup casualties, both on and off the pitch, here’s a low down on what we can expect over the coming weeks in Brazil.
Gary Neville On The World Cup
Former Manchester United captain Gary Neville believes the World Cup is “the biggest test in football”. The England coach recalls watching Brazilian phenomenon Zico play “this carefree, wonderful skilful sport” in the 1982 World Cup which gave him a different outlook on football compared to the rough and ready pitches that he had become accustomed to growing up in Manchester.
Neville feels England can put in some “real performances for the fans” and hopes England’s youngsters such as Adam Lallana, Daniel Sturridge, Raheem Sterling, Jordan Henderson and Jack Wilshere shine on the grandest stage in football.
Chris Kamara On Who Will Win The World Cup
Sky Sports’ Chris Kamara is tipping Brazil to win the World Cup. Kammy feels being the home nation will give the players a huge lift and they have the “extra incentive” to make themselves “legends”. Kammy also believes that with Hulk and Neymar up front, Big Phil Scolari’s experience of winning the competition and securing the Confederations Cup last year gives the samba soccer specialists “one hell of a chance” of glory.
Jeff Stelling on who to watch out for in Brazil
Soccer Saturday’s host Jeff Stelling says Cristiano Ronaldo could be the man of the moment, despite his less than impressive World Cup finals record. Portugal’s captain iS currently recovering from injury, but is expected to be fit in time to play in Brazil.
Stelling says it’s now time for Ronaldo “to go out and show he’s the best player in the world and to do it in Brazil would be fantastic”. He is also tipping Ronaldo’s Real Madrid compatriot Karim Benzema for the Golden Boot. Stelling feels France are in a group where they “should qualify easy” and “should score a few goals”.
Alan Smith on Wayne Rooney’s role
Sky Sports expert Alan Smith says Wayne Rooney will start in Brazil and expects him to play a more central role behind Daniel Sturridge. Despite Rooney scoring England’s first goal in a recent 2-2 draw with Ecuador, many had been questioning whether or not Roy Hodgson would have the bottle to drop the Manchester United star.
Smith believes Wazza will play in that number 10 position and says England are well covered in case any injuries occur. “When you look at Wayne’s goals-to-games ratio – almost one every other game – he is a player that you can’t leave out with his experience … Ross Barkley, Adam Lallana, Raheem Sterling are all lads that can play in that central position. You know what it’s like in tournament football, you do get injuries and you do need suitable replacements”.
Dylan White, Pundit Arena.