Darren Gough: Self-doubt could spread in England World Cup camp

Mis-firing: England's Marcus Rashford.
Mis-firing: England's Marcus Rashford.
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ENGLAND made eight changes in their defeat against Belgium in their final World Cup group game on Thursday and I do think we might come to regret that.

We had a chance to play Japan in the last 16 of the competition by winning the group and not finishing second.

For me, in one-day cricket, we do really have to grow the game across the world and bring more teams to the World Cup.

Darren Gough from one World Cup to another

It was a poor performance, it has got to be said.

Now we play Colombia, who I think are going to be a top side. Momentum is a big thing and I have played in many tournaments; albeit in a different sport and, for me, you play to win every game.

I know Belgium rested nine players, too. But from my experience, you want to play every game in tournaments and the players want to play as well.

Harry Kane will have been gutted not to have played. We basically rely on Kane, who is our one world-class player. He gets a chance, he puts it away.

Marcus Rashford and Raheem Sterling seem to get chances and miss them. That is my concern about England going forward.

All the things that you worry about regarding England came back. It was one of the worst games of the World Cup and Belgium battered us, really, in the second half.

Now we go into the Colombia game with a bit of self-doubt from players and it could spread. Having been part of tournaments, I know what it is like.

As for my team of the week from last week’s action, there have been many more stand-out candidates and I have gone for Iran’s Alireza Beiranvand in goal – it was a great moment for him to save a Ronaldo penalty.

In my back three, I have gone for Colombia’s Yerry Mina, who scored a great goal against Poland, and I have also gone for John Stones in the middle with Diego Godin, who has been outstanding.

Across the middle, I have picked right-wing back Moussa Wague, of Senegal, along with Toni Kroos, who scored a great goal against Sweden and was Germany’s only decent player in the tournament.

Basically, Germany has been Kroos. Luca Modric makes Croatia tick and, on the left, I have gone for Sweden’s Ludwig Augustinsson.

For my front three, I have opted for Colombia’s Juan Cuadrado, Kane and Lionel Messi.

Cricket-wise, England have been in one-day mode against the Australians and whitewashed the Aussies 5-0.

It has whetted the appetite particularly for the ICC Cricket World Cup next year – but I think that we have missed a trick regarding the competition as a whole.

We are going really well, but I have got to admit that, looking at the tournament as a whole, I have reservations about a 10-team competition. It is such a shame really as what cricket has shown over the past few years regarding one-day international matches – in 50-over and Twenty20 games – is that anyone can beat anyone on any given day.

You still cannot predict who can win absolutely anything in a tournament.

It will be so close for all the teams, I think. Look at the recent results worldwide; Afghanistan beat Bangladesh over a series and there are upsets left, right and centre.

To be fair, nine associate teams have beaten full member teams nine times in the last four tournaments and there have been loads of near misses, too, in many matches as well.

It is a shame for me that Scotland, Zimbabwe, Ireland and the Netherlands and teams like that are not in it.

The United Arab Emirates are also growing as a team under Dougie Brown as a coach and they are improving all the time.

Hong Kong are also useful and have a popular Sixes competition. I remember playing in a six-a-side tournament in Hong Kong and the side I was playing for got beaten.

The list goes on of teams who would have potentially added something to the tournament. There’s also the likes of Papua New Guinea and Nepal, who have proud cricketing teams.

These minor nations are getting stronger and stronger and with the way that the game is being played now and the aggressive and bold attitude that teams show, they are displaying no fear.

At Test level, I still think there is a massive gap and Ireland obviously found that out against Pakistan recently.

That said, they did put up a good fight and Afghanistan have been playing India, too.

For me, in one-day cricket, we do really have to grow the game across the world and bring more teams to the World Cup.

They speak about the next World Cup at football having too many teams, but we could certainly do with more at our cricket equivalent.

It is just a shame that we are going to have a World Cup over here without some decent teams.

You cannot have all those small nations in, but, let’s be honest, we should certainly have more than 10 teams at the competition.

It would bring more colour to the competition and whether it is football, cricket or whatever, it is great to see an upset.

Yes, I thought it was embarrassing when England lost to Scotland in Edinburgh recently, but in a way, I was pleased for Scotland as well.

The people there have put a lot of hard work in and are an improved team who are getting better all of the time. The only way they are going to get noticed is by performing upsets.

For them to beat England and secure their biggest victory in their cricketing history, is it such a bad thing? Not really.

It was good for the game, even though England took a lot of stick for it. But realistically, we went on to beat Australia, so it did not really matter in the final analysis.