Rafa Benitez is not a fan of the World Cup because he thinks there are too many countries playing in the Group stages and their quality is sometimes poor.
The main reason there are more and more countries making the finals is …. money – of course.
But once it gets to the knockout rounds Rafa takes more attention and with top countries like Argentina, Italy, Germany, Brazil, and Spain not in the final four it’s a great opportunity for one of the remaining countries to win it.
That very surprisingly includes England, who weren’t expected to do well this summer but we deserve to be there on merit.
Rafa Benitez – arriving back at Newcastle last Friday
Rafa was not too happy that Spain were knocked out by host country Russia on penalties (4-3) and he talked about England yesterday when he was presenting trophies for the 1892 Foundation Cup on Sunday:
“I think they are doing well. I’m not normally a lover of the World Cup because it’s at the end of the season, with too many teams in the group stage,”
“It is only when you pass the group stage when you lose the teams who are not at the right level, that the World Cup really starts for me.”
“England has a lot of good players and have done well. It is strange because you don’t have Italy, Germany, Spain, and Portugal.”
“Some were knocked out before, some have gone out early – but that is great for England because they have a great chance to win the World Cup.”
The other country missing is Argentina (2) and with Italy (4), Germany (4), Brazil (5), and Spain (1) missing they have won the World Cup a collective 16 times.
France and England have won it once each so maybe one of those countries gets to win it a second time on Sunday?
Whatever happens, England are already ultra-successful and the young team has put us back on the World stage – so they have absolutely nothing to lose – go for it!