Vow, either English fans have short memories or just plain lairs. Just go and check all the old threads BEFORE EVERY WORLD CUP! No mate, Media just tell you exactly what you want to hear. England are always one of the World cup favorites among the bookies in England, and guess why? Hint its not the media. Here is typical phase England fans go through Phase 1 Qualifying after their latest Tournament, doom and gloom, and a promise not to fall into hype. Phase 2 Near the end of qualifiers, If not yet qualified Team castigated as being Rubbish. Phase 3: Right After the qualifiers Cautious optimism. Phase 4: A steady built up of the team, start finding other teams to be Rubbish "We can beat them, they are overrated" Phase 5: End of the CL or PL! England players are all world class, and based on few champions League 99.9% of players that don't play in PL are overrated. Phase 6 groups are announced (couple or month before the Tournament EC or WC) England fans are thoroughly convinced their starting 11 second to none. Should beat two of the 3 teams in their group easily Phase 7 Hype goes into over drive! The media in England and yes FANS on these forums (Ones like you who are now denying it), can't see any team bar the flavor of the month (Spain this year), that could be better than England. England are now firm second or third favorite. "Smaller teams" are lucky if they don't lose by more than 2.