Can England get out of their 2014 World Cup group?

After England were drawn with Italy, Uruguay and Costa Rica in the ‘Group of Death‘ for the 2014 World Cup in Brazil, I asked a few people on the streets of Preston whether they thought they could progress or not.

The people I asked weren’t rife with optimism, with the general thought being that England will have to rely on their attacking players, such as in-form Daniel Sturridge who has scored 11 goals in 14 games this season, to cover their defensive frailties. The Three Lions have put in poor performances at recent major championships, so it is understandable for even the most die-hard of fans to be wary.

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Italy Head Coach Carlo Napolitano happy with team despite Tonga loss

Napolitano, left, next to Minichiello

Italy coach Carlo Napolitano, left, alongside captain Anthony Minichiello, reflects on his side’s 16-0 Rugby League World Cup loss to Tonga.

Italy coach Carlo Napolitano took charge of the Azzurri in 2011 and guided them through Rugby League World Cup Qualifying round in the same year, including a very impressive 92-6 win over Russia. After a short-lived Super League career where he played for Salford City Reds , Napolitano, who is also the technical director of the Italian Rugby League Federation (FIRL), moved to Australia where he coached in Queensland before becoming the Head Coach of Italy. Their 16-0 loss to Tonga on Sunday meant they could not progress past the group stage of the Rugby League World Cup finals, but the nation surprised a lot of people with their standard of Rugby and Napolitano has recently said that Rugby League in Italy is rising in popularity.

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