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The England question

With Ecuador causing a mild surprise and qualifying along with Germany in Group A, and with currently a better goal difference than the Germans it raises the possibility that a first place finish for England could see a last sixteen match-up against Germany if they fail to beat Ecuador in their final match-up.

As the Germany v Ecuador result will be known by the time England the field against Sweden, it has led to suggestions that a 'tactical performance' could be engineered to see England finish second, thus avoiding Germany in the last sixteen and meeting Ecuador instead.

Personally, I cannot see that there will be any advantage in doing this or that it would actually be done given that England would have to purposely lose to end up finshing as runners-up.

Also by finishing second it does open up England to what I consider the more difficult half of the draw.

Peering a little into the future, should they win the group and knock off Germany/Ecuador, it could then be Portugal or Holland in the quarter-finals and Brazil in the semi-finals, wheras finishing second would see potentially Argentina in the quarter-finals and then Italy or Spain in the semis.

On the basis of the couple of games so far finishing second clearly provides a stiffer test so for the sake of a slightly easier second-round match-up it would then make the task of getting to the final that much harder.

I do think it will be all academic though as I take Germany to come out on top against Ecuador and despite not firing on all cylinders so far I'd back England to at the very least avoid defeat against Sweden.