Soccer

Hodgson talks up England

2012-12-23 14:17
Roy Hodgson (AFP)

London - Roy Hodgson says England have enough quality players to give the world's top sides a run for their money and claims it is not "impossible" for his team to win the 2014 World Cup.

The England boss told BBC Radio Five on Sunday: "I hope that I will never be tripped into saying, 'well, we don't have enough players or there's not enough players good enough to play for England' because that would be a very sad indictment.

"I know there are a lot of foreigners in the league, but there's plenty of English ones. There were seven Englishmen playing for Manchester United the other day and they're top of the Premier League.

"I hope I'm not going to be tricked into saying that some time to disguise my disappointment in a defeat or to try and shift the blame to somebody else."

England are placed second in World Cup qualifying Group H, two points behind Montenegro after four games and Hodgson said: "We are aiming to finish on top of the group and not have to go through a playoff situation where you can quite easily lose as well.

"If we can't win the group let's hope to God we can come second and give ourselves a chance at least in the playoffs because the goal is to reach Brazil in 2014.

"In an ideal world we would do it by winning the group and sailing through and be ready when it comes around, but there's no guarantee of course that winning the group and sailing through your group stages helps you when you get to the final competition. We've seen that with England."

On England's prospects if they make the Brazil finals he added: "You could say we are far from being favourites (for the World Cup) so therefore it's (winning it) not a likelihood. But you've got to shy away from 'impossible' in football.

"There are plenty of events that we could point to in footballing terms that you could have said were impossible, but people have done it.

"It wasn't likely that Chelsea would become champions of Europe, especially having to change their manager in mid-stream but they did.

"That was by beating Barcelona and Bayern Munich, two of the best teams in Europe along the way, so I'd like to keep that dream alive."

England went out of Euro 2012 following yet another penalty shootout defeat and Hodgson admitted he would be in favour of taking spot-kicks after friendlies next year to prepare players for the real thing in front of a packed crowd.

"It would be a good idea," he added. "You might be able to agree with one of our opponents that, 'if the game ends in a draw let's have a penalty shoot-out'."

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