Gareth Southgate’s faltering English national side fell at the final hurdle of their most recent entry to a major international tournament on home soil last summer. And with the FIFA World Cup set to roll into Qatar-town at the end of this year, The Three Lions have been backed to go one further with a side chock full of experience, and land the coupe du monde for the first time since 1966.
The men’s national team, who made it all the way to last year’s EURO 2020 final against Roberto Mancini’s Italian side, failed to defeat the Azzuri on penalties at Wembley, with a trio of misses from Marcus Rashford, Jadon Sancho, and then Bukayo Saka, gifting the Italians a victory on enemy territory.
Set to travel to Qatar this winter for a late edition of the FIFA World Cup, England will and in a group of four featuring alongside Iran, the USMNT (United States Men’s National Team) and Wales.
Tipped to likely progress through the group stage despite expected competition from both Wales and the USMNT, many England vs. Iran predictions have already backed Southgate’s side to land a comprehensive triumph against the tournament minnows.
Currently backed at 13/2 to win the entire tournament come the end of December, The Three Lions find themselves third favorites to emerge with the trophy in tow, behind previous victors and holders, France, and South American giants, Brazil – who find themselves places as short as 9/2 odds on favorites.
Ending their final three UEFA Nations League outings with two defeats and a draw, England were reduced to 10-men against Hungary en route to a 4-0 thrashing at home.
Travelling to the San Siro in Milan to tackle Mancini’s Italian side again, England dropped a 1-0 loss against the Azzuri, with Napoli forward, Giacomo Raspadori netting.
Clawing a draw against Germany at Wembley, efforts from Manchester United full back, Luke Shaw, Chelsea playmaker, Mason Mount, and Spurs striker, Harry Kane managed to secure England a 3-3 draw after goals from Ilkay Gundogan, and a brace from Kai Havertz.
Expected to hold their respective own in this winter’s World Cup tournament, despite being placed as the third favorites to win gold, England are tipped to progress beyond the group stage and likely equal their semi-final finish as in 2018 when they were beaten by finalists, Croatia.
England finished that tournament in Russia as fourth place finishers, behind third-placed victors, Belgium, runner-ups, Croatia, and the aforenoted winners, France.
However, with the continued emergence of talents such as the above-mentioned, Sancho, as well as midfield duo Declan Rice, and Jude Bellingham to go with center back force and Serie A winner, Fikayo Tomori, as well as the maturing Manchester City product, Phil Foden, Southgate’s side may even better their 2018 performance.
As usual, Harry Kane is expected to lead the lineup top with the captain finishing the 2018 tournament as the Golden Boot winner with six goals, however, extra firepower in the form of the recently included Brentford frontman, Ivan Toney, and Roma finisher, Tammy Abraham – to an often lacking forward line back up England’s chances.
Turning in another splendid performance against newly-promoted, Nottingham Forest this week – which included a spectacular free kick effort, Leicester City midfielder, James Maddison has been backed to find himself a seat on the plane to Qatar, however, it still remains to be seen if the playmaker will fit into Southgate’s often pragmatic style of ball.