What we will talk about is this article that was posted yesterday on CNN's sports section. It outlines 11 reasons England will do well in the World Cup and 11 reasons they won't do well in the World Cup.
Is England a serious threat for the 2010 World Cup?
Jump on the England bandwagon too soon -- as often happens -- and you're bound to be disappointed. But the numbers are hard to argue with: eight games in World Cup qualifying, eight wins; 31 goals scored, five conceded.
Sure, Spain and Holland also have run the table, Germany and Italy also are undefeated. But you get the sense that momentum is with the Three Lions. Still, before we get carried away, let's look at the case for and against England.
11 reasons why England will do well in South Africa
1. These players are as battle-hardened as they come. English clubs have gone deep into the Champions League every year for the last few seasons, that toughness and winning attitude is bound to bleed over.
2. Fabio Capello. Plain and simple, there's a reason why he's the highest paid coach in the world not named José. The guy is a winner and is second to none at reading matches and making adjustments. In a World Cup, that's an invaluable skill.
3. Steven Gerrard can win games single-handedly. He did it before for Liverpool, he'll do it again for England.
4. You'll struggle to find a better defensive duo than John Terry and Rio Ferdinand. Go ahead and try.
5. Wayne Rooney will be just hitting his prime in South Africa. Heck, he's on his way now: 11 goals in his last 10 England games tell their own story.
6. There's plenty of depth out wide when everybody returns from injury: Joe Cole, Stewart Downing, James Milner, Aaron Lennon, Shaun Wright-Phillips and that Beckham guy. What more could you want?
7. This World Cup will be played in winter, in a cool and occasionally rainy climate. Which is pretty much what the English are used to.
8. They changed their logo and now the Three Lions actually look friendly.
9. Look at the opposition. Italy has a 36-year-old central defender and half the World Cup winners have left. Spain looked good in 2008, sure, but it's still a team of midgets. Germany? OK, whatever. Russia? Even Guus Hiddink can only take you so far? Argentina? Having trouble qualifying. France? Ditto. Portugal? At this stage, probably won't be there. Brazil? This new defensive set- up really doesn't suit the Seleção, as the U.S. showed at the Confederations Cup. The Netherlands? Have you seen the back four? Nope, the competition is as weak as it has ever been.
10. Frank Lampard has found his place in the team. He's not "the man" like he is at Chelsea, but he's a productive, goal-scoring midfielder who's willing to do the grunt work. Which is exactly what England needed.
11. They invented the game and have just one trophy to show for it (and even that one, in 1966, came in highly dubious circumstances, as Germans, Portuguese and Argentines will no doubt confirm). They're due.
11 reasons why England will disappoint in South Africa
1. OK, so their clubs go far in European competitions. That just means they'll be exhausted when the World Cup rolls around.
2. Who's playing in goal? The 39-year-old guy with bad knees (David James)? The other guy who fell asleep against Slovenia last weekend (Robert Green)? The guy who's second choice at Manchester United and, the way he's going, may soon be third choice (Ben Foster)? Either of the two guys whose England mishaps are the stuff of YouTube legend (Paul Robinson, Scott Carson)? The tall, thin guy with the spider-like build (Chris Kirkland)? The kid at Birmingham City who couldn't hold down a job at Eastlands (Joe Hart)? Whoever it is, it's going to be painful.
3. OK, so Capello looks good so far. Sven-Göran Eriksson looked good too, no? And if Capello is so clever, why has he won just one knockout tournament in his entire 20-year career? (Which, by the way, was 15 years ago). In case you hadn't noticed the World Cup is, in fact, a knockout competition.
4. Gareth Barry is a fine footballer, but he's slow and clunky. And he's not the kind of natural defensive midfielder you need in the modern game. Capello does have one of those, Owen Hargreaves, but he's been out forever and may never come back.
5. Glen Johnson makes at least two huge mental errors a game. That's all you need to kiss the World Cup goodbye.
6. Capello uses Rooney as a second striker, if not a winger. At United, he plays up front. How is he supposed to resolve this without lapsing into outright schizophrenia?
7. The strikers, Rooney aside, are a joke. Emile Heskey can't get off the bench at Aston Villa and simply never seems to score. Peter Crouch is similarly anchored to the bench at Tottenham. Jermain Defoe? Sure, he's hot now, but he contributes nothing when he's not scoring. Carlton Cole? A breakout season last year, but has everything to prove. Dean Ashton? Injured, obviously. Michael Owen? Tee-hee. Capello doesn't like him, apparently.
8. They changed their logo and the Three Lions now look positively non-threatening. In fact, the one at the bottom looks distinctly effeminate.
9. It doesn't matter how bad the competition looks right now. The World Cup isn't for another nine months. Things change very quickly.
10. At the first sign of trouble, the tabloids will wreck everything. They always do. Why? Because, as Gordon Gecko might say, "It's wreckable."
11. There's no such thing as "being due." If there was, Luxembourg and Bolivia would be due, too. There's a reason why England has underachieved more than any other nation in history (yes, at this point, even more than Spain). South Africa won't change that.
So what do y'all think?