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May 19, 2010

New Zealand captain picking England

Associated Press

WELLINGTON, New Zealand -- New Zealand captain Ryan Nelsen is predicting England will reach the World Cup final for the first time since 1966.

"I just think it's England's time," the Blackburn defender said. "My final is England-Spain or England-Brazil. Everyone laughs at me when I say it."

Nelsen said his prediction might seem laughable, given England's poor World Cup record, but he believes it's based on logic.

"It's going to be played in winter. It could be wet, and they're conditions that England thrive in," he said. "Every other World Cup has been played in hot, humid conditions and England notoriously aren't very good in it. They're my dark horses to win it. I really hope England go all the way. Because I live there and have a lot of English friends I'd like them to do well."

England opens June 12 against the United States and also plays Slovenia and Algeria in Group C.

New Zealand, at the World Cup for the first time since 1982, is in Group F with defending champion Italy, Slovakia and Paraguay.


Copyright 2010 by The Associated Press