England 2022 World Cup Preview: Will the Three Lions roar in Qatar?


Source: TalkSport

FIFA ranking: 5

How they qualified: UEFA qualifying group I winners

2018 World Cup performance: Semi-finals

Previous World Cup appearances: 15

Best result: Winners (1966)



Source: FourFourTwo

England have reached the semi-finals of the last World Cup and the final of last summer’s European Championships, so on paper, they should be able to take the next step in Qatar and lift the World Cup trophy for only their second time. Of course, football is not played on paper and the Three Lions will be going into this winter’s tournament in terrible form – winless in the last six matches. Once again, England qualified for the World Cup with ease, going unbeaten and conceding only three goals in a group featuring Poland, Albania, Hungary, Andorra, and San Marino.

Many fans were encouraged by this England team’s performances at the last two tournaments, predominantly finally beating old rivals Germany at Euro 2020 before narrowly missing out on the trophy on penalties against Italy in the final. However, some of the criticism from a small number of England fans against the tactics of coach Gareth Southgate started getting some traction following some more than disappointing results in the UEFA Nations League, especially the 4-0 trashing at home by Hungary. Add to this potential tournament-ending injuries to some key players and the Three Lions might not be roaring in Qatar.


The Coach – Gareth Southgate

Source: Getty Images

Gareth Southgate had a solid international career as a player for England, which included some highs and lows (missed penalty in Euro 1996 semi-final vs Germany), but his time managing the England national team so far brought more highs than lows, especially considering the expectations many fans had. Southgate began his managerial career at his beloved Middlesbrough, where he spent three seasons before being dismissed following the club’s relegation from the Premier League. The Englishman then took four years out of management before accepting the role of coach for the England U-21 team.

In 2016, following the Sam Allardyce scandal, Southgate was placed in temporary charge of the senior team, but he impressed the FA enough to be given the job on a full-time basis later that year. Under Southgate’s leadership, England qualified for the 2018 World Cup in Russia, where they surprised many by going all the way to the semi-finals, before succumbing to Croatia. After that, England reached the final of Euro 2020, where they were only defeated by Italy on penalties. Throughout the 52-year-old’s tenure as England manager, there has largely been positivity surrounding the England team, but a poor World Cup in Qatar following some disastrous results in the UEFA Nations League can spell trouble for Southgate.


Key Player – Harry Kane

Source: Michael Regan

Not many players in the England team are guaranteed to be one of the first names on the team sheet, but Tottenham striker Harry Kane is one of them. The England captain is highly influential for the Three Lions, having finished as the joint top scorer in UEFA qualifying with 12 goals, as well as currently sitting only two goals away from Wayne Rooney’s all-time goal-scoring record for England. Kane’s goal-scoring is not the only thing crucial for England, but his undeniable leadership is an invaluable trait, especially in major international tournaments. When looking at the other attacking options available for Gareth Southgate, it can be argued that Harry Kane is the most irreplaceable squad member, and any major injury would be catastrophic for England’s chances at this winter’s World Cup.


Predicted Line-up


World Cup Chances

Source: In Your Area

England are going into the 2022 World Cup as perhaps the most in-form team based on previous tournaments, having finished fourth in the 2018 World Cup and as runners-up at Euro 2020, however, they are also one of the least in-form teams based on the most recent results (winless in the last six). That being said, the Three Lions have been drawn in a relatively easy-looking group featuring the USA, Wales, and Iran – but this of course was said in 2010 when England featured in a similar-looking group including the USA, Algeria, and Slovenia, with England only narrowly advancing to the knockout stages of that tournament. England have all the necessary tools to go on better in 2022 and lift the World Cup trophy, but some questionable Southgate tactics and possibly tournament-ending injuries to trusted lieutenants Kalvin Phillips and Kyle Walker might leave England just short of a serious challenge in Qatar.


Comments are closed.