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World Cup - England kick off

Due to cricketing commitments I'm not going to get chance to much of the afternoon games today. Typically it's going to be about 30 degrees too rather than raining like it was most days earlier in the season. I can see a high percentage of captains who win the toss today deciding to bat first in order to catch at least some of the England game.

The Trinidad & Tobago v Sweden game I think will be a bit of a non-event and I'm sure Sweden will be looking to pad the 'goals for' column as the final standings in this group may well come down to it and could make for an interesting last game match-up.

The 8pm game will potentially be a good one and I'm keen to see how both Argentina and Ivory Coast look as a few pundits have tipped the Ivorians as a potential qualifier from this group as they do look to be the strongest of the African teams, whilst Argentina do not appear to have too many weaknesses in their line-up and are fancied to make the semi-finals at least.

As for the 'big one' though, all the talk coming out of the England camp is very positive and how it is 'our time' and certainly this is the approach that the press are following this morning judging by the headlines and front covers.

I take England to win the game and to play well enough without 'coming out flying' as everyone is suggesting. As good a player that Carrick is, Gerrard would be a big loss if he doesn't make it and it would put more onus on Frank Lampard. It will be important that Michael Owen gets another full game under his belt and the defence are more solid than they have been in recent games.

1-0 looks a good bet to me at 11/2 odds but I think England may add a second late on to give them a little breathing room and calm the nations nerves.