LET me stress at the start of this column I am not saying England are definitely going to win the World Cup.

But I am saying it might happen.

Recently I wrote that there seemed to be no sign of World Cup fever, just apathy. In that May column I talked about how the country has lost its passion for the England football team, which was a shame as the major sporting occasions can bring us all together.

But I think this can and will change if England go on a winning run in this year's tournament.

I am concious that people will assume this is stupid pre-tournament talk and I'm getting carried away with just 24 hours to go before kick off. We have "seen it all before" when it comes to predictions of golden generations set to lead England to glory, only for them to come up short.

The bookies have England at a price of 16/1 to win it, and that is probably fair.

But I have been thinking for a while this England team is different. Indeed in my new year predictions I forecast at least the quarter finals.

These words could come back to haunt me, but I see no issue in England getting out of the group.

And a next round encounter with an opponent like Poland or Columbia is also very winnable. When you reach a quarter final obviously things get tougher, but you never know.

This England team is one of the youngest we have ever taken to a tournament, with a few players not scarred by previous failures.

Youth should always be backed if they are good enough, and credit to the manager Gareth Southgate that he has done just that. I like a manager prepared to take a calculated risk.

Steven Gerrard talked about how his generation sat separately and were not a group - but there appears to be none of that with these players. In sport, indeed in any walk of life, team spirit has proved time and time again to achieve things that seemed impossible.

People who say England have no chance of ending more than 50 years of hurt, forget that in football we have seen the impossible become reality. No-hopers Leicester winning the Premier League were 5000/1 outsiders before a ball was kicked. I have never seen a team gain momentum and confidence as quickly as they did three years ago.

Let's hope England can do something similar this tournament.