Wayne Rooney in action for England
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Goalkeepers: Joe Hart (Manchester City), Ben Foster (West Bromwich Albion), Fraser Forster (Celtic).

Defenders: Leighton Baines (Everton), Gary Cahill (Chelsea), Phil Jagielka (England), Glen Johnson (Liverpool), Phil Jones (Manchester United), Luke Shaw (Southampton), Chris Smalling (Manchester United).

Midfielders: Ross Barkley (Everton), Steven Gerrard (Liverpool), Jordan Henderson (Liverpool), Adam Lallana (Southampton), Frank Lampard (Chelsea), James Milner (Manchester City), Alex Oxlade-Chamberlain (Arsenal), Raheem Sterling (Liverpool), Jack Wilshere (Arsenal)

Forwards: Rickie Lambert (Southampton), Wayne Rooney (Manchester United), Daniel Sturridge (Liverpool), Daniel Welbeck (Manchester United).


Team ProfileEdit

England head to the 2014 FIFA World Cup with one notable absentee - the considerable weight of national expectation.

As the glory of winning the tournament in 1966 has become an increasingly distant memory, English fans have hoped beyond hope that their team can be crowned world champions once again, but that faith has never been rewarded.

And it seems many of those supporters have written off the nation's chances of making a big impression in Brazil this time around, with some even suggesting that Roy Hodgson should focus on building a squad capable of competing in future events.

However, the absence of that pressure could be beneficial for Hodgson's men, who were unbeaten as they edged Ukraine in topping their qualifying group.

The last time England achieved an unblemished World Cup qualifying record was in 1990, when they famously went on to lose to West Germany on penalties in the semi-finals.

That remains the closest that England have come to replicating the success of 48 years ago and it is Italy - hosts in 1990 - who England face first this time around.

There is no question that climate will play an enormous part in England's ability to settle in Brazil, particularly as they travel to Manaus, a city surrounded by rainforest, for their opening Group D fixture against Cesare Prandelli's men.

The group's remaining sides, Uruguay and Costa Rica, will understandably be more accustomed to the South American temperatures, so England will need to adapt well and quickly if they are to be competitive.

The impact of the heat on the players could see Hodgson making full use of his 23-man squad in order to keep everybody fresh.

Hodgson has favoured starting with two strikers since taking over from Fabio Capello in 2012 and Wayne Rooney is likely to lead the line alongside Daniel Sturridge.

Rooney is a veteran of two World Cups, but is yet to find the back of the net at the finals, which could leave England turning to Sturridge to provide extra firepower.

The Liverpool forward has enjoyed a sensational season, becoming only the second player to score in eight consecutive Premier League matches.

Midfield is where Hodgson faces possibly his biggest selection headache, with a whole host of players making a strong case for inclusion in the first-choice XI, while the only certainty in the middle of the park is that captain Steven Gerrard will take the armband.

England's defence could have a strong Everton presence, with Leighton Baines and Phil Jagielka likely to feature in the first-choice back four. Manchester City's Joe Hart is as good as guaranteed his place between the posts.

In the dugout, Hodgson has previous experience of managing at a World Cup, taking Switzerland to the last 16 in 1994 - a tournament England failed to qualify for.

However, it remains to be seen how far he will need to take his current crop of players in Brazil for it to be considered a job well done.

Player Profile (Wayne Rooney)Edit

Position: Forward
Date of Birth: October 24, 1985
Club: Manchester United
International Debut: v Australia (February 12, 2003)
World Cup Appearances: 8
World Cup Goals: 0

Controversy has followed Wayne Rooney at major tournaments but the 28-year-old still looms as England's main man at the 2014 FIFA World Cup.

How Rooney performs at this year's showpiece is likely to have a big influence on England's fortunes in Brazil.

The Manchester United man will be forever remembered as one of his country's best forwards but the jury is still out on whether he can produce on the game's biggest stage.

He is yet to score at a World Cup finals, with both of his previous appearances at the tournament having been plagued by controversy.

After bursting onto the scene at UEFA Euro 2004, where he scored four goals as an 18-year-old, Rooney's build-up to the 2006 World Cup in Germany was hampered by a foot injury.

His quick recovery saw him return to action in time to feature in the event, but he was far from his influential best, failing to score before being sent off in disgrace in England's quarter-final loss to Portugal on penalties.

Rooney's fiery temper has flared at several points during his career, and it was in evidence when he stamped on Portugal defender Ricardo Carvalho in the last-eight clash, becoming just the third England player to be sent off at a World Cup.

England disappointingly missed out on Euro 2008 before a poor 2010 World Cup campaign saw them eliminated in the second round as Rooney again struggled.

After Fabio Capello's side were booed off following a drab goalless draw against Algeria in the group stages, Rooney hit out at the England fans, telling television cameras: "Nice to see your home fans boo you. That's what loyal support is."

Another red card ruled him out of England's first two UEFA Euro 2012 matches and although he scored against Ukraine, earning his country a spot in the quarter-finals, they lost to Italy on penalties.

Rooney starred in qualifying for the 2014 World Cup, scoring seven goals in all - just two less than he did in England's campaign to reach the 2010 tournament.

Now the challenge is for Rooney to replicate that form in the World Cup, as he aims to break his goal drought in the tournament.

He is in the prime of his career at the age of 28 and has been in good form for Manchester United this term, reaching double figures in the Premier League by February and scoring one of the goals of the season with a stunning 55-yard half-volley against West Ham in March.

He has battled groin issues but appeared refreshed in 2013-14, despite United's struggles.

And England boss Roy Hodgson has now challenged Rooney to 'explode' at the World Cup, saying earlier this year: "He is 28, a terrific age, and this is the world stage, the perfect opportunity for him to prove to people around the world what we already know - that he is a very, very gifted footballer."

Rooney scored in Brazil in a 2-2 friendly in June last year at the re-opening of the iconic Maracana Stadium, a positive sign for the World Cup.

And Hodgson will hope for more of the same, with Rooney's form sure to be key as England bid to reach the last 16 from a group that also contains Italy, Uruguay and Costa Rica.

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