You'll struggle to find too many Scottish people singing the praises of the England football team, but one such person who believes England have a chance in South Africa is the Times' Patrick Barclay.
He has been saying for some time that he feels Fabio Capello has the tools to go all the way, and he still feels that after Monday night's win over Mexico. And Patrick believes the full-backs hold the key.
A few days before England took on Croatia at Wembley last September, Fabio Capello was asked how Glen Johnson would cope with the left-flank threat of Niko Kranjcar. The Italian smiled and replied: “Kranjcar should be more worried about Johnson. I am not worried about Johnson — he is one of the best right backs in the world.”
Capello was proved right to the extent that the Croatians should have been the anxious ones; they were beaten 5-1. But his assertion about Johnson has taken longer to be vindicated amid a lingering suspicion that, for all the Liverpool player’s threat going forward, defensive vulnerability tends to cancel it out. Last night he found a balance and it looked as if the player Capello promised us eight months ago had finally arrived.
In which case England have even more reason to be cheerful about the tournament than we suspected. Full backs are very important. They receive plenty of the ball and must take responsibility for construction. To have two high-class examples can go a long way towards winning a World Cup, as France showed in 1998, when Lilian Thuram and Bixente Lizarazu were fundamental to their success.
But, in the Guardian, Richard Williams had another view point.
A row of dark-suited men watching from a row of seats behind the England dug‑out exerted more of an influence on last night's performance than most of the players on the pitch. What Fabio Capello's side lacked against Mexico was the composed decisiveness of John Terry, the dynamism of Ashley Cole, the connectivity of Frank Lampard and the imagination of Joe Cole. Even in a 3-1 victory Chelsea's Double-winners were badly missed.
Not too many conclusions should be drawn from a pre-World Cup friendly, particularly one in which England were without several key figures. But it would have been nice to see, along with the energy and the eagerness to please their coach, just a little bit of joined-up football, something to suggest that they had spent a week on the training pitch. Most of that sort of thing came from Mexico, a reminder of the times without number when even England's most ardent admirers have despaired of seeing the white shirts pass the ball with the intelligence and accuracy shown by their opponents.
While Mexico seldom distinguish themselves at the World Cup, neither do they go home in humiliation. That made them useful opponents last night, a good yardstick by which Capello could judge certain elements of England's progress. When it came to coherent defending and incisive attacking, he would not have seen much to encourage optimism.