World Cup: England’s potential route to a first FIFA World Cup final in 56 years
f the 2022 FIFA World Cup took place during its usual slot in June and July, there’s a high chance that England would have been outright favourites for the trophy. Gareth Southgate led England to an unexpected semifinal four years ago in Russia before going one better in last summer’s European championships, leading his nation to a first major final since 1966. But a disastrous UEFA Nations League campaign – in which The Three Lions lost home and away to lowly Hungary en route to relegation from League A – has turned many experts off. Oddschecker, which compares odds and provides free offers on the World Cup, has now made Brazil the favourite instead.
When you consider the talent in England’s ranks, it’s a wonder how they weren’t able to pick up a single victory during the Nations League matches. Their attacking options are plentiful. Everyone knows of Harry Kane’s talents, and he remains the jewel in the English crown. Whereas in Russia he was the sole star of the show, he now has a worthy supporting cast. The likes of Bukayo Saka, Jude Bellingham, Jack Grealish, Mason Mount, and potentially James Maddison will all be feeding the Tottenham Hotspur striker, and it wouldn’t be surprising to see him secure a second consecutive World Cup Golden Boot award.
To do that, he will need to score goals, and plenty of them. And if Captain Kane is scoring plenty of goals, there’s a chance that England will go far this winter. Here is their potential route to the final.
Second Round – Senegal
First and foremost, Southgate’s men will need to navigate the group stages. They’ve been drawn into Group B alongside Iran, the USA, and local rivals Wales. Let’s face it, it’s a pretty simple-looking group, and no one would be surprised to see them win all three games. Admittedly, the Americans and the Welsh will be doing their utmost to spoil any English party, but we expect them to seal narrow wins again both and top the group with nine points.
If they do that, in the second round they will face the runners-up of Group A, which contains hosts Qatar, Ecuador, Senegal, and the Netherlands. We feel that the European side will have too much for the other three and top the group, with the current champions of Africa finishing as runners-up. This tie would immediately be a difficult one for Kane and co. to navigate, but with news of Sadio Mane’s injury ruling him out of the trip to the desert, England’s task just got a little bit easier.
Quarter Final – France
The route to the final certainly doesn’t get any easier if England make it to the last eight because, chances are, they’ll meet the reigning champions. In 2018, after Croatia had broke English hearts in extra time, Les Bleus dismantled the first-time finalists in Moscow, winning 4-2 and securing the FIFA World Cup Trophy for the second time.
England could be aided by more injuries to key men, however, with the French World Cup-winning duo Paul Pogba and N’Golo Kante both ruled out of the tournament with injuries. Could that make the difference between a loss and win?
Semi-Final – Belgium
The semifinals are more difficult to predict, but we feel that Belgium will make it to back-to-back World Cup semifinals this winter. If they are to do so, they will need to see off either Germany or Spain – who would be their probable opponents in the second round – and Portugal in the quarter-finals.
The Red Devils have been somewhat of a bogey team for The Three Lions in recent years. Roberto Martinez handed Gareth Southgate two defeats in the last World Cup and they’ll be hoping to secure another victory and a first ever final appearance this winter.
Final – Brazil
As always, the best has been saved till last. That will be the case if England reach a first World Cup final since 1966. They will likely need to see off five-time champions Brazil. With the likes of Neymar and Vinicius Jr. pushing against England’s shaky backline, it’s very possible that more heartbreak is on the horizon in the final, if England haven’t experienced it already by then.