‘Uruguay or Argentina Will Rule The World’

‘Uruguay or Argentina Will Rule The World’
Sir Bobby Charlton.

WORLD CUP 2014 (JUNE 12 - JULY 13)


He is one of the world's greatest footballers, and was a big reason why Man United were so successful in the 1960s. Sir Bobby Charlton was also a key figure when England won the World Cup in 1966. Now a director at United, and a member of the Laureus World Sports Academy, Charlton does not think Roy Hodgson's men are good enough to win their second crown in Brazil next month, and also has doubts about the hosts.

1. The World Cup being played where it is, do you think the winners will come from these three South American countries - Brazil, Argentina, Uruguay - and if so, why?

Sir Bbooby Charlton: If I was choosing from all the ones, I think Uruguay and Argentina, and maybe Brazil.

Maybe Brazil don't have the players and the fact that they are going to have to be performing at the top level may be a little bit beyond some of them. They all play in Europe so they have lots of experience. But I somehow don't think Brazil can win the World Cup.

I think South Americans are very proud and when the World Cup comes to Brazil then they're going to make sure they do their very best. They will be tough as boots.

2. Roy Hodgson has picked the 23 men whom he thinks can bring England success at the World Cup. Do you see any similarities in the team's build-up to England 1966 and Brazil 2014?

I don't think we ever dreamed of winning the World Cup, but it was in 1962 when the seeds for 1966 were planted.

I remember young players like Bobby Moore were coming into the action and there was a lot of real interest in the football that England were producing. We played quite a lot and we won quite a lot leading up to '66. I remember thinking, when I was looking at the team that had been selected, this is as good as anybody's.

Before the first ball was kicked, we did not talk a lot, we usually left that on the training ground. It was a tough World Cup, there were some really great teams playing, but we had been on tour and had beaten everyone. In 1963, I would say, England were very well positioned to do well in the World Cup.

The system was 4-3-3 and Alf Ramsay, who was the manager at the time, was convinced that was what we were best suited to, so that took a lot off your mind.

Players were picked to play (in that system) and a lot of managers would not have picked them: Players like Nobby Stiles, who was not an attractive footballer but he was a hard nut and we needed somebody like him; my brother, Jack, big centre-half, who could head everything all day; George Cohen, not a classical footballer, but he never was defeated by any of the wingers who used to go up against him; Bobby Moore, it was quite early for him to be a World Cup captain, but he was perfectly suited to it.

If you are going to win the World Cup, you have to get players with character. At the time, whenever 11 English players went onto the field, we would think, 'it's going to take a good team to beat us'. and that turned out to be the case.

I felt from the start that we were going to win the World Cup. Ramsay had said yes, we will win the World Cup and everybody went ha-ha, you know, a few guffaws in the media but, nevertheless, after the first match, which was a 0-0 draw with Uruguay, I remember thinking, well, a draw, that's going to be the most that we are ever going to concede.

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