Sports

`England has a chance to
rule in South Africa'

Legendary England goalkeeper David Seaman expressed his confidence that, with a positive attitude mixed with some luck, England has a great chance of making the finals of the upcoming FIFA World Cup in Johannesburg, South Africa.

"I would say the Three Lions have about an 85 percent chance, but they also need luck. Seeing how they qualify for the World Cup, they stand a good chance," the 46-year-old former Arsenal goalie told media in Jakarta on Thursday.

After 22 years playing professional football, Seaman retired in 2004, with a trophy cabinet boasting three league championship medals, four FA Cup medals, one League Cup medal and one European Cup medal.

He was speaking on the first of his three-day visit to Jakarta promoting the launch of Internet giant Yahoo's 2010 World Cup content in Bahasa, named Liputan Piala Dunia 2010 and the site's penalty shootout online game.

"The England team played a lot better during qualifications, than in the last World Cup. For me, with the confidence of how we qualified, we've got a great chance. So, it's about being positive," said Seaman.

England qualified for the 2010 World Cup by winning their first eight matches, including a 4-1 and 5-1 victories over Croatia, who had stood in the way of England qualifying for Euro 2008 two years earlier.

The team's only defeat during the 2010 World Cup qualifiers was to Ukraine after their berth had been secured.

At the last World Cup, hosted by Germany in 2006, the England team's ambition to repeat its 40-year-old World Cup glory was halted in the quarterfinals.

Since their sole cup at home in 1966, the team's closest shot was in 1990 in Italy, where they finished fourth, loosing 1-2 to the host team.

Seaman acknowledged England would have to watch out for tough opponents, including Spain, Germany and Brazil as well as dark horses like the Netherlands and Argentina.

"Spain have some fantastic players, while Brazil are always good. Despite struggling to qualify, Argentina always bring their A-game to the tournament. So, they will be great threat, too. Hopefully, Brazil and England make it through the finals, though. I really want England to win," said the goalie, who guarded the net at World Cups in France, 1998, and in South Korea and Japan, 2002.

In the 2002 quarterfinals against Brazil, Seaman was caught out by Ronaldinho's curling free kick, causing England to bow out of the World Cup.

"When the ball went in, I just knew it was a goalkeeper's mistake. As the final whistle blew, it was hard to know we were out of the World Cup because of me," Seaman recalling his most regrettable goal concession.

"As a goalkeeper, you are always going to make mistakes. You can play 89 minutes all is safe, penalty and everything, but make one mistake, everyone will remember that mistake. But that's the life a goalkeeper. So, you have to learn to be able to make mistakes and still play well. That's the art," he said.

Seaman said he had overcome the regret after his spectacular save against Sheffield United's Paul Peschisolido in the semifinals of the 2003 FA Cup. Seaman ended his appearance as Arsenal captain on a high note, leading the club to a 1-0 victory over Southampton in the finals

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