Kek backs England to win it all
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England are now ready to win their first World Cup for nearly half a century, according to one of the men who is trying to plot their downfall: Slovenia head coach Matjaz Kek.

Expectations of FIFA World Cup glory have risen significantly since England manager Fabio Capello guided the Three Lions through an almost perfect qualifying campaign. England's chances of success were boosted when they were drawn alongside the USA, Algeria and Slovenia in Group C of the tournament.

Bookmakers currently rank England among the favourites to win their first World Cup since 1966 despite worries over the unity of the team following recent off-the-field problems concerning the players' private lives.

For a lot these players it will be the last chance to win something with the team and this, I think, will be great motivation for the English players to do well.
Matjaz Kek looking ahead to England's motivation this summer

Capello's side face Slovenia in the last of their group matches and Kek believes the Italian has brought some much-needed discipline to the England ranks, which he believes gives them a good chance of winning the tournament.

"England can win it, they have a lot of the best players in the world in their team," Kek told Press Association Sport. "They're good tactically, have good players and have good discipline. England is one of the best teams in the world and that's why they are one of the favourites for the tournament.

"They have individual quality and now that has been turned from individual quality into team quality. They are a strong team now and that has been down to Fabio Capello," he said.

Slovenia qualified for their second FIFA World Cup after a shock win over Guus Hiddink's Russia in a play-off last November. Kek is confident of qualifying for the last 16 of the competition and believes his side can draw inspiration from a creditable performance in their 2-1 friendly defeat against England at Wembley last September.

"Playing England was a great experience because four days later we beat Poland 3-0 and this was one of the biggest wins in our qualifying campaign," said Kek, who was speaking at an event to promote tourism in Slovenia. "When we played England it was a friendly but I think that we played well in Wembley and we now know what it is like to play England."

For some members of the squad like David Beckham, Rio Ferdinand and David James, this World Cup is likely to be their last and Kek believes this could work in England's favour.

"The World Cup only comes around once every four years and I don't know how many of these players will be available in four years. For a lot these players it will be the last chance to win something with the team and this, I think, will be great motivation for the English players to do well."

Wayne Rooney has scored 29 goals this season but Kek is aware that England's other players will also represent his side with a big threat when the two sides meet on June 23. "Everyone from England is asking me about Wayne Rooney, but I don't think I should be talking about Wayne Rooney because England have some other big stars in the team other than him," the 56-year-old said. "When you talk about England you must talk about the team and not just one of the players."