England can win next World Cup, claims Hodgson


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The Independent Football

He's only gone and said it. Roy Hodgson, the England manager, has gone on record to claim that it is not "impossible" that the country could win the World Cup in Brazil in 2014.

His reasoning? Chelsea's against-the-odds Champions League triumph last season, when they knocked out Barcelona and then beat Bayern Munich on penalties.

Hodgson did acknowledge it was unlikely that his team would triumph in 18 months' time, but his assertion that the Three Lions' task is not impossible is one that could haunt him if the national team under-perform in Brazil.

He said: "You could say we are far from being favourites so therefore [winning it] is 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. 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 currently sit second in World Cup qualifying Group H, two points behind Montenegro after four games.

He added: "We are aiming to finish top of the group and not have to go through a play-off where you can quite easily lose. 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 play-offs because the goal is to reach Brazil in 2014.

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

England went out of Euro 2012 following yet another penalty shoot-out defeat and Hodgson said 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. You might be able to agree with our opponents that, 'if the game ends in a draw let's have a penalty shoot-out'."