World Cup 2014: Who should you support now England are out?
Who to cheer on now Roy's boys are heading home early
Friday 20 June 2014
England are out of the World Cup and they didn't even get to take a single penalty.
Knocked out in the group stage, for the first time since 1958, they have suffered the ignominy of being eliminated without even completing all of their group games.
Not that perhaps anyone was expecting anything different. After all FA boss Greg Dyke even made a throat-slitting gesture when England's tricky World Cup group was drawn.
So with the formalities of England's tournament exit done and dusted, the question becomes who to support now?
Independent Sport have picked five teams who could be the ones to cheer on now the Three Lions have been sent packing.
Lionel Messi spoke of his 'big relief' after scoring a superb goal for Argentina against Bosnia-Herzegovina
For those who like to back a favourite but don't fancy the surprisingly uninspiring tournament hosts Brazil, there is clearly only one option - Argentina. Blessed with attacking riches other countries can only dream of, Alejandro Sabella has managed to find a formula that works and his side mean business. Also in Lionel Messi, they have the outstanding player in world football over practically the last decade - there can be no doubting his greatness but leading his side to an elusive World Cup win would deservedly cement his status as an all-time great. Plus after 1986, it would be nice to see if they could win a World Cup fairly...
Robin van Persie scores a header in the Netherlands' 5-1 victory over Spain
With a blistering attack and a slightly shaky looking defence, Netherlands have taken this tournament by storm so far. Also if proximity to England is your criteria for supporting a side then the Dutch seem like the natural choice - assuming that eternal rivals France are ruled out of consideration. Despite playing in three finals, the Dutch are still searching for their first ever World Cup win so success in Brazil would be all the more sweet. Plus who doesn't love that bright orange kit?
Edu Vargas scores for Chile
If everyone loves an underdog, then an underdog with a relentless commitment to attacking football is clearly best in show. Chile have already hounded a creaking Spain side out of the tournament with their thrilling high tempo style, with exciting stars like Alexis Sanchez and Arturo Vidal as well as the ever-tenacious Gary Medel all looking like they'd give anything for the cause. On paper their defence is too short and too flimsy to see them go all the way, but who lives on paper? This Chile team want to attack and it will take some stopping them.
Marouane Fellaini celebrates bringing the scores level against Algeria
It's been quite a year for Belgium. Labelled early on as tournament dark horses, they were for a time going to be everyone's second team at this World Cup. Then came the inevitable backlash as they became too popular for their own good. For those who long for the heady days of tournaments past, Belgium have a golden generation of players but have appeared to struggle playing together as a team. Sound familiar? Also, superbly their national anthem can be sung in French, Dutch or German depending on whereabouts in Belgium you come from.
The only team in the tournament making their World Cup debut - for those who like everything to be new, Bosnia are the logical choice. Add to that the fact that they scored 30 goals in their 10 qualifying games and throw in a couple of stars like Edin Dzeko and Miralem Pjanic and you've got quite a package. Plus after a spirited display against Argentina and with just Iran and a fairly dire looking Nigeria side to play, they look like proving a tough task for anyone in the knockout rounds.
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