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Commonwealth Games 2002

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  Friday, 26 April, 2002, 15:56 GMT 16:56 UK
Nostradamus: It's England
By BBC Sport Online's Chris Charles

England are going to lift the World Cup this year, according to the prophecies of Nostradamus.

The 16th century soothsayer is best known for his predictions about world wars and the end of the universe.

But peer a little closer and you can find a source of great optimism for Sven-Goran Eriksson's side as they head for Korea and Japan.

Dr George Myerson has interpreted some of Nostradamus' writings and included them in his book, England: The World Cup Prophecies.

Dr Myerson admitted having his tongue slightly in his cheek, but insisted: "Nostradamus was very serious about the World Cup."

David Beckham
Beckham will stand out from the crowd

As far as England's group games go, the great man suggests Eriksson will feel torn between his adopted country and the nation of his birth, but will eventually lead his new team to glory against Sweden.

And here's what he actually said: "Pope of Rome, be careful about coming close to the city that two rivers shall water.

"There you have come to spit your blood. Thou and thine when the rose shall flower."

Pope of Rome, of course, translates as former Lazio boss, the two rivers represent England and Sweden and the flowering rose symbolises an English victory.

Easy when you know how.

Injury

Nigeria will also be vanquished ("the eagle soaring up among the tents, by other birds shall be chased away"), as will France in round two - after extra-time, apparently.

Nostradamus also foretold David Beckham's injury crisis, with the words: "The prince shall have one foot tied. Fearsome to his enemies, he shall make his sail rebound."

In other words, Beckham goes into the tournament in a bad way, but will rise again to score from a rebound. Well, what else could it mean?

Of the other teams, two of the favourites are written off in the passage: "The people of Spain and Italy without a leader shall die", while a reference to the child of Germany being blinded surely means curtains for Rudi Voller.

Phil Neville
Could it be thrill Neville? Hmmm

As for the final itself, there can only be one winner. And if you still need convincing, take a look at this:

"To take arms and the Britannic name and the English title..."

Couldn't be simpler really.

Unfortunately, there is one prediction which throws the entire prophesy into doubt.

Nostradamus states: "In the year that the brothers of the lillies shall come of age, one of them shall take hold of the great Romany."

In other words, with Gary Neville definitely out, Phil will seize his chance and be a star for Sven.

That really is a bit too far-fetched.

 WATCH/LISTEN
 ON THIS STORY
Dr George Myerson
"He shown signs of a very deep knowledge of the World Cup"
See also:

26 Apr 02 |  England
Neville's World Cup blow
25 Apr 02 |  England
Ant and Dec front England anthem
26 Apr 02 |  England
BBC's Eriksson book offer
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