Well, this feels weird, doesn’t it? At this time of year, we’d normally be writing our Christmas lists and putting up the tree. But before Santa comes to town, we’ve got the small matter of the World Cup to deal with.
Despite the unusual time of year for the tournament, by the time the first game kicks off in Qatar, we’re all going to be struck down with World Cup fever. And instead of singing Christmas carols, we’ll be belting out a different anthem. All together now… IT’S COMING HOME!
Can England win the World Cup?
Maybe! After reaching the semi-finals at the 2018 World Cup and falling at the final hurdle at the Euros, logic dictates that England will go all the way this time.
Last summer’s European adventure ended in penalty shootout heartbreak against Italy. But the squad will have grown from the experience and the exciting young talent within the squad have got another year of top-level experience under their belts.
But this is England after all. Just as they build you up, they quickly bring you crashing back down. With one of the most exciting groups of players in their history and the hopes of the nation on their back, it would be typical for them to crash out at the group stage.
England still have plenty of weaknesses, particularly in defence, and there are fears his conservative approach does little to make the most of his rich attacking options. The Three Lions should comfortably win their group but there are bigger tests waiting in the knockout stages. Let’s just hope they can get the job done before it reaches penalties!
When are England playing?
England are in group B alongside Iran, the USA and Wales. While they’re firm favourites to come out on top, it’s by no means a given. They finished runners-up to eventual semi-finalists Wales at Euro 2016. And they only managed a draw against the USA back in 2010, who beat them to finish top of the group.
- England v Iran – 1pm on Monday 21st November
- England v USA – 7pm on Friday 25th November
- England v Wales – 7pm on Tuesday 29th November
Who are England’s biggest competition?
The tournament favourites appear to be Brazil, whose embarrassment of riches up top has seen Roberto Firmino left at home, despite his resurgence for Liverpool this term. The five-time winners face stiff competition from South American rivals Argentina. The tournament in Qatar surely represents 35-year-old Lionel Messi’s final chance to add the World Cup to his endless collection of honours.
2018 World Cup winners France remain a threat and there’s a good chance of them meeting England in the quarter-finals. Elsewhere, Germany will be looking to bounce back after finishing bottom of their group four years ago.
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