With English expectations low going into the World Cup, it's possible that Hodgson will take a young squad out to Brazil to gain invaluable experience and build for the future. With that in mind, Hodgson may use the game against Denmark to cast his eye over some of the young prospects on the brink of breaking into the World Cup squad.
Kevin Pietersen is just the latest casualty of a system which prizes orthodoxy above all else. Examples can be seen across the sporting spectrum in England (Danny Cipriani in Rugby Union, Pietersen and Jack Russell in cricket to name but a few), but football seems to take the biscuit for having the biggest homogenised mass of samey players.
Belo Horizonte was one of the first planned capital cities of Brazil. Surrounded by mountains, it has nearly 2.5 million inhabitants and is famous nationwide, for its more than 14 thousand bars, called "botecos" (pubs) in Brazil.
Who could replace Theo on the wing? Since the days of David Beckham, England have longed for a creative player who can produce magic at any moment. Read on to find out which six players could take Theo Walcott's place on the plane to Brazil in June.
Tintin, waffles, and over-priced chocolate. If you were to traverse the high streets and market squares of Britain, asking the wandering punters to sum up Belgium in three words, the odds are that you'd end up with something largely similar. Yet, in the coming months and years, our Flemish counterparts from across the Channel may well have another fame to claim.
I, of course, realised my ultimate dream in 1966. But this would not have been possible were it not for the volunteers who helped me play football when I was growing up and then later at my first club Chelmsford Boys, now known at Chelmsford City Youth FC.
On June 14th, Britain begins its journey in the 2014 FIFA World Cup, in a city that combines the comfort of a huge metropolis alongside access to the most diverse biosphere on the planet. Manaus, the capital of Amazonas, is located where the Negro River meets the Solimões River and forms the Amazon River a few miles downstream.
So that was it... 2013, gone and here we are moving swiftly into 2014 - nearly mid-Jan. Now looking up from the Chrismas/New Year holiday, I can see a dazzling year of sport ahead. The Winter Olympics in Sochi, the World Cup in Rio and the Commonwealth Games in the summer... What a year ahead... As a massive football fan who loves watching great football all year round, this is going to be a great summer. For me, I think with all those world class teams that will be there, unexpected things can happen as it often does in knockout competitions. Think of the FA Cup and all the upsets that can produce.
Whisper it, but Brazilians speak Portuguese - not Spanish. It's a common mistake...Despite the belief of many English speakers that everyone around the world uses English, it is not common to find very many people who can use it well in Brazil.
Welcome to 2014. It's the year that the spotlight of the world will focus in on Brazil as we enter the final countdown to the FIFA World Cup in June and July. Many reports on issues such as the stadium construction have been far from positive, but as we all know, the media is rarely positive before any major sporting event...
It is already being billed the 'greatest World Cup of all time'. With next summer's tournament now just a matter of months away, all eyes are on Brazil as they prepare to host the competition for the first time since 1950. Five time winners of the trophy, and a nation which has consistently represented the very best of football, Brazil is synonymous with creativity, fluidity, and artistry. So where better to play out the biggest tournament on earth, than in a carnival atmosphere, with sun, sand, sea - and samba?
In the average career of a top-flight footballer, the opportunity to appear at a World Cup will only come around three or four times. Therefore in a World Cup year, warming the bench or turning out for the stiffs is not an option. Thankfully for those struggling to make an impact, this time of year throws up a few potential opportunities to make a push for Brazil.
I have read reams of comment pieces and watched hours of footage dedicated to the celebration of this wondrous occurrence, this life-altering experience, this brief encounter with the sublime, with each anecdote compounding my crushing sense of regret at having failed to watch the World Cup 2014 group draw live. And then I had an epiphany: perhaps, just maybe, perhaps I didn't actually miss much at all?
I can never hear about football tragedies without thinking of the Shankly saying. Hillsborough, Bradford City, Heysel, the Accra Sports Stadium deaths in Ghana in 2001, the dozens killed during Egypt's Port Said stadium clashes in 2012. The list goes on and on. Or indeed the recent depressing news of two more deaths during construction work on the stadium that will host the opening ceremony for next year's World Cup finals in Brazil.
With London 2012 slowly receding into the past, and the next wave of global sporting events such as the 2014 World Cup in Brazil and the Glasgow Commonwealth Games imminent, it's time to consider the state of ambush, or guerrilla, marketing in the sports world.
It has been reported that there are fewer English players playing in the Premier League today than ever before. In fact, English footballers account for just 32.26% of all minutes played in the Premier League and it is the lowest home-grown ratio across all major European leagues according to Opta statisticians.