64 matches, 32 countries, one winner. The World Cup is once again upon us, with the very best footballers on the planet competing for the ultimate prize. To mark the occasion the EchoSport reporters are pitting their wits against some of south Essex’s best and brightest young football experts to see who really knows more.

NORTHWICK Park Primary School got lucky when they pulled England out of the hat but they think even luck won’t help Roy Hodgson’s team win their second World Cup.

Here is what Bailee, Finn, Billy, Freddie, Alfie T, Alfie L, Kane, Louie, Sonny, Kade, Alfie S and Aaron think will happen.

Sonny: The weather will be a big problem for England.

Alfie L: Hodgson has gone for the young players and I think that is the right move.

Kade: Italy have some good players. I think they will qualify.

EchoSport reporter Luke: You are the lucky group that drew England’s group in their draw. But can they win the tournament, or even get out of the group?

The group shakes their heads.

Aaron: I would have taken Ashley Cole. He has a beard just like Mr T. (although the beard has since been shaved off)

Bailee: (Luke) Shaw and (Adam) Lallana should start and so should Ross Barkley. I don’t know if Gerrard should play.

Echo: Ross Barkley is one of a number of exciting youngsters included in Roy Hodgson's World Cup squad

Barkley - a huge talent

EchoSport Luke: But Gerrard is the captain. He will start won’t he?

Alfie S: He has banana boots and might slip over again (Gerrard slipped in a crunch match in the Premiership causing Chelsea to score) so I wouldn’t play him.

Finn: England will find it hard to beat Italy and Uruguay, especially Italy in the Amazon. Uruguay have good strikers they will find it hard to beat them too.

However, after a discussion in which the group raise concerns about the strength of Uruguay’s defence, they agree England will qualify.

Aaron: I think Balotelli might get sent off and if he does then the other teams will stand a great chance of winning.

Bailee: I think England might draw against Italy.

Billy: What about Costa Rica? They might do something.

Finn: They will have a lot to prove and they won’t want to finish the group with no points.

Freddie and Alfie T: Put them down for a draw against England. They will play for a point.

Kane and Louie: England will probably qualify but won’t win as their team isn’t as good.

So we have discussed England but with their chances of success very low, according to Northwick Park, who should we watch out for and who could be the surprise package in Brazil this summer?

Finn: Brazil have got a really good team so they will do well.

Alfie L: Spain will win. All their players are good enough to play so they will be one of the favourites.

Kane: Holland are a good team too but they have a few older players now. (Robin) Van Persie and (Arjen) Robben are quite old.

Alfie T: I think Sergio Aguero (Argentina) will be the top scorer. He is really quick and scores lots for Man City. Otherwise Neymar (Brazil) will be top.

Echo: Sergio Aguero

Aguero - yet another dangerman for Argentina

Finn: I think Belgium will surprise people – Billy nods in agreement – They have a lot of quick, young players and will get to the knock-out rounds.

EchoSport Luke: If you had to pick one winner who would it be?”

Group: Germany, Spain, Brazil, Argentina.

They may prove to be right!


To bring the World Cup to south Essex, EchoSport has invited eight primary schools to take on each other (and us!) in predicting the results of the matches. A correct score line prediction will see three points awarded and the correct result one point. The school with the most points at the end of the tournament will be crowned champions.

14/6: Uruguay v Costa Rica
Echo: 3-0 Northwick Park: 2-0

14/6: England v Italy
Echo: 0-0 Northwick Park: 1-1

19/6: Uruguay v England
Echo: 1-1 Northwick Park: 1-2

20/6: Italy v Costa Rica
Echo: 2-0 Northwick Park: 3-1

24/6: Italy v Uruguay
Echo: 0-1 Northwick Park: 2-2

24/6: Costa Rica v England
Echo: 1-3 Northwick Park: 1-1