While football fans across the country might fear the right foot of Andrea Pirlo or the goalscoring talents of Luis Suarez could put paid to England’s chances of World Cup glory this summer, according to climate researchers at The University of Reading it is a more unforeseen and unpredictable foe that could scupper their World Cup campaign.
Climate experts from The University of Reading have warned that there is a high chance that Brazil could be hit with a weather phenomenon that leads to a sharp rises in temperature and almost unbearable football playing conditions.
According to those that have carried out the research, the El Niño phenomenon, which means “The Little One” in English, has a 60 per cent chance of occurring in the summer and might affect England’s last two home games.
The El Niño is part of a of a meteorological cycle that comes around every half a decade and has a impact on temperatures, sea levels and the rainfall worldwide.
South America is often one of the worst affected areas, with Brazil the host nation of this year’s World Cup tournament often suffering from sharp temperature rises and drought.
And University of Reading researchers believe that it is these conditions that England players might have to contend when they World Cup starts on the June 12.
Dr Nicholas Klingaman Postdoctoral Research Scientist in climate cycles at the University of Reading said: "If it does occur, it would increase the risk of uncomfortably hot and dry conditions in Brazil during June and July,"
Dr Klingaman was particularly worried about England’s last two group games which are set to take place in Sao Paolo and Belo Horizonte respectively.
He said: "El Niño will affect southern and eastern parts of the country, where England are playing their second and third group games.”
In February, England manager Roy Hodgson came out and said that the heat in Brazil would not affect his England team's chances in Brazil and that they would have to "get on with it." Nevertheless, the talk of even hotter conditions could be a major worry for the England national team who traditionally do not perform as well at World Cups in warmer climates.
Their two best performances in World Cups so far have happened in Europe - when they won it on home soil in 19666 and came fourth at Italia 90.
Outside of the milder conditions in Europe, England has never been able to make it past the quarter-final stages of the competition.
One of the hottest games England has ever competed in at a World Cup was their group stage clash with Brazil at Mexico World Cup 1970.
Having to play in the midday Guadalajaran heat due to television rights, temperatures pushed 40C.
And if “El-Nino” does occur in Brazil this summer, temperatures are expected to get up near the heat Bobby Moore and his boys faced in Guadalajara that day.
"While a one degree increase may seem insignificant, not all days will be affected equally," Dr Klingaman said.
"Extreme temperatures often change by much more than the monthly average. A one degree increase in the monthly average is equivalent to half of all days warming by two degrees, or one-third of all days warming by three degrees."
The news comes just a day after Us scientists said there was an 80 per cent chance of El Niño causing global weather changes later this year.
However, England fans might want to take some solace in the fact that forebodings by meteorologists have not always been the most accurate when it comes to predicting the arrival of El Nino.
In 2012, US scientists estimated that there was a 75 per cent chance of El Niño raising its extremely hot head. However, it never appeared.
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