Strike pair back Spain

West Ham United greats Frank McAvennie and Tony Cottee believe Spain are the favourites to win this summer's FIFA World Cup.

With just four days to go unil the finals begin, the reigning European champions are many commentators' and the bookmakers' 7/2 favourites to lift the trophy for the first time in their history - making them just the third nation after Germany and France to hold both the European and World titles at the same time.

As two supreme goalscorers it is no surprise that McAvennie and Cottee singled out Liverpool striker Fernando Torres as the man to stop if England are to win the tournament for the first time since 1966.

McAvennie, who played for Scotland at the 1986 World Cup in Mexico, also believes Fabio Capello's squad can make a big impact in South Africa, while also dismissing suggestions that he would be cheering on England's opponents like many of his countrymen.


"For me, it depends on Fernando Torres," he told WHUTV. "If Torres is playing, Spain have got a great chance but I think this is a great chance for England. I fancy them to get to the semis and they'd have Brazil if they get there.

"Of course I'll be cheering England on. I've lived most of my adult life down in England. There are a lot of people in Scotland who don't like it, but I'll be cheering them on."

Cottee, who made seven appearances for England between 1986 and 1989, said a productive World Cup would put a smile on the face of the whole country.

Tony Cottee and Frank McAvennie

"It would be great for the whole of Britain, wouldn't it. We've had a really bad recession and I think if England were to win the World Cup, it would be great for everyone in the UK.

"I agree with Frank that I think Spain are the favourites, but if England play to their peak and keep clear of injuries and keep Wayne Rooney on the pitch, we've a great chance of doing really well. I'm not saying we'll win it, but I think we'll have a good tournament."