England’s World Cup dream is all over already, it’s official

The Rio Report

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There's nothing like politicians and high-level officials to make everyone feel better about themselves, is there?

Thanks to a Home Office impact assessment on late-night drinking, we have all learned that England's chances of success have already been dashed. Wonderful.

Government officials have called time on England’s World Cup hopes before the team have even boarded the plane with the assessment that there is a "high probability" the squad will not play at all in "later matches".

It’s all down to ruling on licensing hours and the impact that late-night drinking will have on the country this summer.

'Roy's boys' are clearly not being given any respect in high places as England's supposedly desperate chances were taken into account when considering whether to extend licensing hours in pubs during the tournament.

The matches in Brazil will see kick-offs throughout the night due to time-zone differences but that may now scupper fans' pub plans for games later in the tournament.

The impact assessment said: "While England are certain to be playing in the matches in the first period, there is a high probability that they will not be playing in the later matches."

Last night in the House of Lords, Labour's Lord Rosser picked up on the comments, saying: "So it's good to know what the Government thinks of England's prospects.''

[Barkley named in youthful England squad]

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Home Office minister Lord Taylor of Holbeach said the comments in the paper were ''a matter of opinion''.

He added: ''I'm sure other peers will have different views on that issue."

Gambling website Betfair imply that England have a 54 per cent chance of progressing through to the knockout stages of the competition.

But England are rated at only 11 per cent probability for reaching the semi-finals.

Ross Barkley was included in the 23-man England squad for the World Cup, with Michael Carrick and Tom Cleverley named only on the stand-by list.

Left-back Luke Shaw’s Southampton team-mates Adam Lallana and Rickie Lambert also make the squad – Lambert’s inclusion alongside Wayne Rooney, Danny Welbeck and Daniel Sturridge means that Andy Carroll and Jermain Defoe are on the stand-by list.

Also on the stand-by list is John Stones of Everton, who was playing for Championship side Barnsley last season, but, having made a £3 million switch to Goodison in January 2013, the 19-year-old came to prominence as he deputised for the injured Phil Jagielka towards the end of the 2013-14 Premier League campaign.

With his squad selected, Hodgson will now have to hope that his players can prove the Government officials wrong in their hopeless pessimism.

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