Is England a genuine contender? Can the senior team help England do a triple after their success in U-17 and U-20 World Cups?Or will they crumble in the group stages only? Will this be another futile attempt to win the Cup? These are few questions which are in every soccer lover’s mind.England’s manager Gareth Southgate has admitted that although he is pleased with the favorable draw in the upcoming World Cup, he thinks he has a fairly young and inexperienced side to manage . He required more international match exposures to gain experience in order to win the most coveted football tournament. So it can be easily said that England themselves does not look too confident in conquering Russia. But the same was said before during the 1966 World Cup in which they were themselves the host nation. During that time also no one took England as a real threat but they did shock the entire world by defeating West Germany in the finals. Led by their flamboyant manager Alf Ramsey, England achieved the unthinkable. Moreover, in the last edition of the Under-17 and Under-20 FIFA World Cup held in India and South Korea respectively, England has emerged as champions. So can history repeat itself? Can England do a triple?
Let’s analyze the advantages and strengths the current England squad possess.
Although Gareth Southgate has a young team at his disposal, he has players like Dele Alli, Marcus Rashford, Raheem Sterling,John Stones,Harry Kane who are in the form of their lives and are consistently out-performing more established players at the highest level of football . Harry Kane has been in outstanding form scoring 30 goals in the recently concluded English Premier League. He is extremely fast,dangerous because of his shooting ability and also equally adept in the air. Dele Alli is another player in the squad who deserves a special mention because of his brilliant passing and play-making ability. He orchestrates the midfield with lots of tact and dexterity.Moreover,England has a very fast paced wingers in Raheem Sterling and Marcus Rashford.
Despite being so young they are regular starters for both their club and country and has been key in their clubs success in the English Premier League. These players are capable of changing the complexion of the game at any moment with their individual brilliance. Let’s have a look at the possible starting eleven for England in Russia.
Secondly, England had suffered in previous World Cups due to lack of squad depth. With so much of experience of the young players playing in top clubs under top managers, Southgate has the liberty to change his team formation and game play based on their opponents.
Thirdly, they have had a very favorable draw in Russia wherein they have been seeded with teams like Belgium, Tunisia and Panama in Group G. Beating teams like Tunisia and Panama should be a cake walk for England. The only major challenge comes in the form of Belgium. They along with Belgium will be favorites to qualify from this group. In pre-quarters stage they may face the likes of Colombia or Poland. England has enough substance in their squad to beat them.
Lastly, as Southgate has announced a fairly inexperienced and young squad, the burden to win the Cup in Russia is much less. The media focus and pressure are relatively less than in other World Cups. This can be a blessing in disguise for Southgate and his team. They can approach the games pressure free which will definitely enhance their performance level. This will be a big positive for the young, inexperienced but immensely talented English squad.