Hamann predicts possession problems for England

FORMER German star Dietmar Hamann believes England’s inability to keep possession will be their downfall at the World Cup finals.

England are among the favourites for glory in South Africa but Hamann believes their style of play is ill-equipped to emerge victorious.

‘‘I’ve got to have my question marks (about England),’’ Hamann said. ‘‘I’m not sure whether their style of football is well equipped to win a World Cup.

“In international football and in a World Cup you need to be able to keep the ball and I’m not sure England are capable of keeping it as well as they need to.

‘‘I think they have to work too hard to get the right results in the earlier stages and I think that’s one of the reasons they come up short in the latter stages. You need to be able to keep the ball.’’

Hamann, who will be part of RTÉ’s team of pundits for the World Cup, believes Holland have the ‘‘the capability of going far’’ providing their camp is a harmonious one.

‘‘Holland could be a dark horse if they keep peace in their camp and they pull together. They’ve probably got the capability of going far,’’ the former Liverpool midfielder said.

‘‘The most important thing is everyone is pulling in the same direction and if you have cliques in your team I think you will come up short because everything needs to go right in the World Cup to beat the best teams.’’

He added: “Team spirit is key. I think that could be a problem with the Dutch because they had problems in the past and also other countries, Serbia’s got a history, the African nations have got a history. When things don’t go well they fall apart.’’

The 36-year-old, who recently joined League One outfit MK Dons as player-coach, believes this is one tournament where his native Germany can be safely written off.

‘‘Can they go all the way? I very much doubt it.’’ Hamann said. ‘‘It will be very tough, they’ve got a very tough group and they could be facing England in the last 16 so we’ll have to see. I think if they go to the semis it would be a success.’’

Hamann believes Brazil’s strength in depth and mental toughness will ensure Dunga’s team will be celebrating a record sixth World Cup triumph on July 11th.

‘‘They’ve a lot of players they can choose from,’’ Hamann said.

‘‘Some of the Inter Milan defenders, the goalkeeper, they’ve had a terrific season, they’re all on a high so I fancy Brazil.’’

He added: ‘‘(To win the World Cup) you need a good team; you need good defenders, good midfielders and good forwards who can score goals.

“I think the strongest team mentally will be there and I think that will be the Brazilians. Dunga’s instilled a bit of that European mentality and I think that’s the reason why they could be the team to beat.”

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