World-renowned physicist Professor Stephen Hawking has produced a formula to guarantee England World Cup success in Brazil.
The scientist, whose book A Brief History Of Time was a best-seller, analysed data from every tournament since 1966.
But the bad news is he reckons the heat, the altitude and the distance from home could all scupper England’s chances!
However, former striker Michael Owen expects England to reach the knockout phase in Brazil, despite taking on two former World Cup winners ranked in the top 10.
The Three Lions face Italy, Uruguay and Costa Rica in Group D and the draw originally brought an apprehensive reaction from FA chairman Greg Dyke.
However, Owen believes England have nobody to fear and will gain revenge against Italy, who inflicted defeat on Roy Hodgson’s team in Euro 2012.
Owen spoke exclusively on Sportlobster.com: “It is a tough group, but it isn’t impossible for England to qualify for the knockout stages.
“Italy are obviously a decent team, while Uruguay and Costa Rica are also solid. However, England can hold their own.
“If we have any aspirations of winning the World Cup or going far in the tournament, I don’t think we should be afraid of any of the three teams.
“I expect England to qualify along with Uruguay.”
Hosts Brazil have won a record five World Cups, but they look to win their first on home turf after the Selecao suffered a final defeat against Uruguay in 1950.
But despite playing in their own backyard and in front of their fervent supporters, Owen believes Brazil are on a par with the other tournament favourites.
He added: “There is a lot of competition and eight teams are in the mix to lift the trophy.
“I wouldn’t say Brazil are expected to win it. They will have to perform incredibly well, because the standard is always improving in football.”
Owen also expects a memorable World Cup, in spite of concerns over stadium construction, infrastructure and the protests sweeping the nation.
He said: “Everyone is keeping their fingers crossed, but I would be very surprised if everything wasn’t ready for the tournament.
“I expect a fantastic tournament. There is a buzz attached with Brazil with the people, beaches, stadiums and the party atmosphere. These are the hallmarks for a superb World Cup.”
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