FORMER Derby County and England star Colin Todd thinks the winners of the World Cup in Brazil could come from South America.
Todd, who won 27 caps for his country in the 1970s, believes Argentina could have a chance of lifting the biggest prize in football – particularly if Barcelona superstar Lionel Messi comes to the party.
The tournament starts tonight, when the hosts take on Croatia in Sao Paulo.
“It is the biggest tournament in football and I will be watching with interest,” said Todd.
“As for who will win it, I don’t think it will be Brazil but I think it could be a South American team.
“When the World Cup has been in South America, no European team has ever won it.
“So everything is in favour of the South American sides.
“I will be very much interested in how Messi fares.
“He is a world class player but has never done it at the highest level, I don’t think.
“I’ll be watching him closely and if he can have a really good tournament, then Argentina will have a chance.”
As for England’s chances of success, it is a case of hope rather than expectation for Todd.
“I look at England and wonder if they have the quality to keep possession and then use it to hurt the opposition,” said the 65-year-old.
“I think they looked very dangerous from set plays but not so much from open play.
“There’s a lot of talk about the Premier League being the best in the world but I’m not so sure.
“And if it is, it’s only because of the number of foreign players who play in it.
“We all hope England can do well at the World Cup, because it means such a lot to the nation.
“It can be a motivation if everyone is writing you off – and it’s good to keep the build-up as low key as possible.”
England get their Group D campaign under way against Italy in the jungle city of Manaus on Saturday, before games against Uruguay and Costa Rica.
Todd, who is his second spell as manager of Danish top flight club Randers, reckons Roy Hodgson’s men face a tough battle just to reach the knockout stages.
“Getting out of the group can be horrible,” he said.
“Nobody wants to lose and they can be quite negative games.
“Teams are often frightened to lose and that can lead to them conceding goals.
“England should get out of the group but it will be tough.”
Todd is on the mend after undergoing triple heart bypass surgery earlier this year.
The former Derby, Bolton and Middlesbrough boss returned to work to help Randers finish eighth out of 12 teams in the Danish Superliga.
“It was important the timing of my return was right and I think it was a relief for everybody,” he said.
“I’ve continued to make significant progress and it’s been very positive. I don’t have to see the hospital at all now.
“I was back on the training ground for the last nine games of the season.
“To be fair, we were very unlucky to lose two of those matches. We deserved to be undefeated during that time.
“All in all, though, it was a good finish to the season.”