England v Croatia – World Cup Qualifier

3rd September 2009 | World Cup Betting category: Football World Cup News
Football World Cup News

England’s Ashley Cole Highlights the Importance of the World Cup Qualifier

England full back, Ashley Cole has highlighted one of the main areas of concern for a lot of the England players ahead of their World Cup qualifier against Croatia on September 9th. The truth of the matter is that the backbone of the current England side is almost at an apex with regards to age. After missing out on Euro 2008, the players will be keen to put any issues of qualification aside with against Croatia. England currently top their qualifying group with a lead of 7 points, and Fabio Capello’s men should have no insecurities about missing another major tournament.

If nothing else, the age of some of the players in the squad should drive England forward. The likes of David Beckham, Rio Ferdinand and Frank Lampard have all hit the age of 30 and over, and Stephen Gerrard, John Terry and Cole himself will be close to that mark come the time of the tournament. For many, this could be their last chance of World Cup glory. Picturing an England team without them in it for the 2014 World Cup can leave some minds wondering just what the status of the national team will be.

England face Croatia on Wednesday, with the knowledge that a win at Wembley will seal their place in South Africa 2010 with games to spare in the qualifying group. So far the qualifying campaign has been immaculate, with a 100% winning record. Past failures may have spurred on the commitment, the Chelsea defender believes. Some of the established players are not only facing competition against age, but are also being pressed by a younger group of players, waiting to grab their international chances.

If anything, the older brigade in the England squad will be looking for security that they will have some major international duties next year, in the hope that they will be able to bow out from the international stage in style. That will begin with beating Croatia, but the experienced players will know at the same time, that anything can happen on the day. Failing to close out qualifying for Euro 2008 cost them dearly in their final match. At international level there can be no slacking off, for there are rarely second chances. For this qualifying campaign however, England do have the cushion of other games if they do not secure the win they will be looking for.

Ashley Cole recently signed a long term contract with his London club Chelsea, which will take him to 2013. Time may be on his side then for one last flourish at the 2014 World Cup, but a lot of the faces around him may not be there. Chelsea also recently secured the services of England captain John Terry for a further five years, too, ensuring that the England captain will likely play out his days in the blue of Chelsea.

Early prices on the vital Croatia match can be found at Betfair.
England to win: 13/8
Draw: 27/11
Croatia win: 41/10

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* All mentioned odds were valid at the time of writing. Betting odds are subject to fluctuations. Please check the current odds with the respective bookmaker!

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