Veron backs England to make major impression at World Cup

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The Internazionale playmaker Juan Sebastian Veron has backed England to make a big impression at this summer's World Cup by naming them among his pre-tournament favourites.

The Argentinian played in England for several seasons and knows many of the squad well from his time with Manchester United and Chelsea.

"Even though Brazil are the best team, England have players at the top of their level," Veron said. "I like England very much because they have Frank Lampard, Wayne Rooney, John Terry and Steven Gerrard. And if David Beckham is charged up, they are candidates."

Veron, who is unlikely to feature in Germany for Argentina after being overlooked by the national coach Jose Pekerman ahead of the competition, continued: "For me, the stage of being one of the supporters has started.

"Perhaps I'm a bit nostalgic because I've been representing the national team for several years, two World Cups, and I had thousands of positive experiences. I'll be one more fan giving Argentina my backing."

Veron also agreed with those who believe his country have been drawn in the hardest qualifying group, with the Netherlands, Ivory Coast and Serbia & Montenegro, in the opening stage.

"It's true. It's the group of death," he said. "But we don't have to be dramatic, because our rivals should be even more worried. If we don't have injury problems, we'll reach the top spots."