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England boss Roy Hodgson concentrating on World Cup qualifiers against Moldova and Ukraine

As the FA's new chief, Greg Dyke said yesterday that he doesn't expect England to win the 2014 World Cup or the 2018 event for that matter, current England boss Roy Hodgson said he was only focused on reaching the 2014 World Cup never mind winning it.

Dyke said nobody "realistically thinks" England will the tournament.

In response today, "I very much doubt we're at the top of any bookmakers' list to win the World Cup in Brazil," said Hodgson, whose team play Moldova on Friday.

"So let us first qualify and then aim to get a bit better for Brazil."

The game against Moldova at Wembley on Friday is the first of two crucial qualifiers with England then travelling to face Ukraine on Tuesday.

England trail Group H leaders Montenegro by two points heading into this round of games with Hodgson's team having a game in hand.

Hodgson was speaking after Dyke unveiled his vision for the national side which included reaching the semi-finals of Euro 2020 and winning the World Cup in 2022.

"What bothers me is not whether we win the World Cup; it's giving the performances we need to make sure we make the World Cup," added the England manager.

And he has a point. Englnad can't afford any slip ups and the squad he has available has a very inexperienced look to it.

Southampton's Rickie Lambert looks certain to start for England against Moldova after Daniel Sturridge pulled out.

Sturridge has returned to Liverpool for treatment on a thigh injury but may be fit for next week's trip to Ukraine.

Lambert, who scored against Scotland with his first touch on his debut last month, Danny Welbeck and Jermain Defoe are the only strikers left in Roy Hodgson's squad.

Wayne Rooney, Phil Jones and Glen Johnson had already withdrawn.

Sturridge, 24, has scored five goals for Liverpool already this season, including winners in all three Premier League games.

Meanwhile England defender Gary Cahill has come to the defense of keeper Jo hart whose form has been suspect in an England shirt of late.

Hart, 26, has faced criticism after errors for England against Scotland and for Manchester City at Cardiff.

"There is always going to be a stage in your career when you make a mistake or two," Cahill said ahead of Friday's World Cup qualifier against Moldova.

"We'll see in the character, the way he can bounce back - that's the most important thing - but he's top drawer."

Betting expert Jo Ross from www.­footyinsider.­co.­uk thinks England can get through:

'Despite the injuries Roy Hodgson is not the sort of boss to panic. We can't see even a weakened England losing to Moldova and Ukriane are not the force of old. They had a dire Euro 2012 and their top players have retired. England should have won the game at Wembley and we can see them getting back to back wins.'

'Like Greg Dyke though we can't see England winning in Brazil - no European side has triumphed in Central or South America.'

JB

 

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