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World Cup countdown

With just 100 days to kick-off, we get all the best World Cup build-up plus an Asmir Begovic Q&A.

Last Updated: 04/03/14 at 08:11

Begovic Exclusive

Sometimes it is not always easy to switch allegiances but when that switch heralds a World Cup appearance within five years, it makes the decision all the more justified.

Having represented Canada at youth level, Asmir Begovic seemed set on a long international career with his adopted country, having fled Bosnia at an early age with his family after the outbreak of war.

However, the 26-year-old made a dramatic U-turn while plying his trade at then-Premier League side Portsmouth, and pledged his allegiance and is now looking forward to a debut World Cup campaign with Bosnia and Herzegovina.

Read our exclusive Q&A with Asmir Begovic

It's All in the Mind

In a special Footballers' Football Show on Sky Sports, Roy Hodgson revealed he is ready to turn to a psychologist to ensure England avoid the heartbreak of another penalty shoot-out defeat at this summer's World Cup finals.

Hodgson's England infamously trod a familiar path to the exit of a major tournament at Euro 2012, losing out on spot-kicks to quarter-final opponents Italy.

Can England cure their problems? Read our special with Roy Hodgson

Fast Start Key

Gary Neville says England's 2014 World Cup opener against Italy is 'critical' to their chances of progressing from the group phase.

Roy Hodgson's men come up against their Euro 2012 conquerors in Manaus on June 14 and Three Lions coach Neville told The Footballers' Football Show - England Special it is vital the team earn a positive result in their first Group D fixture.

Read the full interview with Gary Neville

Chatting to Carlos

As part of an Umbro mini-series, Brazil legend Roberto Carlos has been talking to Guillem Balague about life in his homeland and what it is like to play for the world's most football obsessed country ahead of the 2014 World Cup.

Just as he was never afraid to express himself on the field, Carlos is no shrinking violet off it either. In typically candid form he discusses a variety of topics, including his experiences with the Brazil national side and an eyebrow raising revelation that he once nearly joined Birmingham City!

Take a look in full at the chat with Roberto Carlos

Sky Bet Say...

Sky Bet go 7/1 for England to be knocked out of the World Cup in a penalty shootout as Roy Hodgson attempts to prevent more spot-kick heartbreak.

The Three Lions have crashed out of six of the last 10 major tournaments on penalties, prompting the England boss consider using a psychologist this summer, while Team Sky cycling chief Sir Dave Brailsford will also help with preparations.

While cynics fear the worst again amid tempered expectations, Sky Bet believe there is a 7/1 chance Hodgson's men will see their campaign ended in a penalty shootout and 9/1 for them to be eliminated in extra-time.

For the more optimistic fans, England are also 7/1 to prevail in a shootout and 100/1 to win the tournament on penalties.

England head into the World Cup at their longest ever pre-tournament price to lift the trophy at 28/1 and 9/4 third favourites to win Group D, which also contains Italy, Uruguay and Costa Rica.

Bet on England at the World Cup

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Readers' Comments

I

think that puts all doubts over Benteke's quality to bed. Can he do it after receiving the ball to feet, in the box, totally unmarked, on a warm, sunny afternoon in Swindon? Oh yes he can! This year is definitely Liverpool's year. YNWA.

rationalmanc
WATCH: Benteke's debut screamer

A

ll very well selling all midfield and strikers but unless we bring anyone in that is better than what we had then it will be a terrible transfer window in my view. Sorted out the defense but our midfield and striker options look very light.

bigo
Spurs Halfway To The Perfect Summer

L

ove it when Jose accuses others of being defensive, cynical and playing to win. If I was Wenger, I'd get that quote laminated and framed - surely the biggest compliment he's ever received from Mourinho. You've got him riled Arsene - you're relevant again!

suarez_blind
Jose rues pitch and weather after defeat

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