2022 FIFA World Cup Team Previews: England
The 2022 FIFA World Cup is less than a month away from kicking off in Qatar. Over the next 32 days, I will be previewing each team that will be taking part in the world’s most-watched event. Check out all of the team previews that have been done so far. Up next is England.
Four years ago, England made it to the World Cup semifinals before falling to Croatia in extra time, ending a six World Cup drought without a semifinal appearance. Following that, England made the final at the 2020 European Championships but lost to Italy on penalties.
Now, England’s new generation has final experience and knows what it takes to do so. Currently ranked fifth in the FIFA men’s rankings “The Three Lions” romped through qualifying without losing, going 8-2-0. This won them the group by nine points over Poland. However, England did not win any of their matches in the UEFA Nations League with their last win coming back in March against the Ivory Coast.
The whole country will hope to get back to winning ways at the 2022 World Cup.
World Cup Appearances
Only three times since making their first World Cup in 1950 has England not appeared in the competition, missing out on back-to-back World Cups in 1974 and 1978 and then missing out on the 1994 World Cup. When they touch down in Qatar it will be the 16th time “The Three Lions” will be at a World Cup.
Best Finish at a World Cup
England reached the peak of world soccer in 1966 when they lifted the Jules Rimet Trophy on home soil as World Cup champions. It remains the lone World Cup title for England, and they have been chasing that glory ever since. Twice “The Three Lions” has been knocked out in the semifinals, first in 1990 on penalties to Germany and then again in 2018 against Croatia.
England is one of the deepest and youngest teams in the 2022 World Cup and that starts in the attack. Harry Kane leads that attack and is two goals away from tying Wayne Rooney for the most goals in English history with 53. Alongside him could be any of Raheem Sterling, Jadon Sancho, Bukayo Saka or Phil Foden.
The midfield for “The Three Lions” is just as strong boasting Jude Bellingham, Mason Mount and Declan Rice, among others. However, defensively England has some issues due in part to injuries to Trent Alexander-Arnold, Reece James and Kyle Walker.
This England team has all the pieces to make a run to the final, but a lot of the success will come down to team selection.
Gareth Southgate has been one of the most successful England managers for a long time, reaching both the 2018 World Cup semifinal and the 2020 European Championships. The former England international has been in charge of “The Three Lions” since 2016 and has used his experience playing in the World Cup to propel his team forward. He will have a tough decision on his hands when it comes to center back Harry Maguire and whether or not he should be starting. The pressure is on Southgate who could be out as England’s manager with a disappointing performance at the 2022 World Cup.
Biggest Group Game – vs. Iran on Nov. 21
It is always important to get off on the right foot for any contender at the World Cup and England’s opening match comes against Iran. It will be important to get back to winning ways for “The Three Lions” against a team that should not cause them too many issues. There are a lot of questions surrounding the England squad and the opening match will answer those questions.
Anything less than first place in Group B would be a disappointment for England considering they are, on paper, far better than Iran, Wales and the United States. I do see them winning two of three matches and drawing the other solely because England can never do things the easy way.
If “The Three Lions” win their group at the 2022 FIFA World Cup they would play the runner-up of Group A which would likely be either Senegal or Ecuador. England should be able to beat both, but if all goes accordingly, they would meet France in the quarterfinals and that is where I see England’s World Cup journey coming to an end. The team has the skill to bring football home, but it is going to be very difficult.
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