England's World Cup soccer squad have retreated to the pleasant English county of Shropshire and there, in Lilleshall, a private stately home of sport, manager Alf Ramsey has to pick 22 of his 27 players for a European tour immediately prior to the World Cup.
Players at training headquarters -- training on field.
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Background: England's World Cup soccer squad have retreated to the pleasant English county of Shropshire and there, in Lilleshall, a private stately home of sport, manager Alf Ramsey has to pick 22 of his 27 players for a European tour immediately prior to the World Cup.
As host country, England, the nation who gave the world soccer, but have never won the World Cup, did not have to qualify for the World Cup finals and some critics feel that they might have had a struggle to do so had they been in the preliminary competitions. As it is, England, with a comparatively easy draw in a group including Uruguay, France and Mexico, appear to have an excellent chance of reaching the quarter final stage.
Although Brazil are strong favourites to win the coveted Jules Riminez trophy on July 30th, a number of experts see many points in England's favour. England will be playing under their normal climatic conditions, eating their usual food, and living under home conditions. They have an additional major advantage because they will be playing all their group matches at Wembley, the scene of most England Internationals. England have only been beaten at Wembley three times by foreign teams since the stadium was first used for international football, 40 years ago.
England wind up their World Cup preparation by playing Finland, Norway, Denmark, and Poland.
Mr. Ramsey, who took over as England manager a few months after the last World Cup competition, has been building his team for nearly 4 years. Of 40 players originally named as possible, 27 are now training in Shropshire. Five of these will be dropped from the European tour and England's team will emerge from the 22 remaining players.
It's difficult to pick certainties for the England team but it seems likely that Gordon Banks will retain his position in the England goal, and defence will include right back George Cohen.
Bobby Charlton looks as if he will join the attack, and there are many advocates of a young Chelsea forward, Peter Osgood. Osgood, only 19 years old, has never been capped for England. Jimmy Greaves, a veteran of England's front-line had a bad patch this winter through illness. But his fight back to form may well mean a place for him. Arsenal's George Eastham is another international training at Lilleshall in Shropshire who can reasonably look forward to the World Cup matches in July.