FIFA World Cup 2022: What Makes England Favourites For The Trophy?
Amongst the most revered footballing nations, England’s continued resurgence since their semi-final defeat to Croatia at the 2018 FIFA World Cup has been nothing short of astounding. Since the loss, the national team has grown in confidence and desire, which resulted in them reaching only their second final of a major international tournament at the UEFA Euro 2020 earlier this year. And, though the Three Lions suffered an underwhelming loss to Italy in their most recent final, England have a promising future gauging ahead of the upcoming FIFA World Cup in Qatar next year.
Gareth Southgate’s side was amongst the most consistent throughout the Euro’s in the summer. Boasting the likes of Harry Kane, Jude Bellingham, and Kalvin Phillips, among others, the team were brimming with talented youth combined with unparalleled squad depth going into the tournament. Although known to be amongst the sides to have a vulnerable defence going into major tournaments, the Three Lions kept the most number of clean sheets – conceding only twice – at Euro 2020.
Now, with a wide roster of players to choose from and several qualifiers and international friendlies offering the opportunity for them to showcase their talent, England are likely to boast amongst the strongest squads in Qatar. Given the assorted range of players at their disposal and the indispensable mix of experience and talented youngsters within the ranks, all eyes will be fixated on the manager on extracting the best of his players heading into a pivotal period ahead of the tournament next year.
While one could make an argument about the difference in quality between England’s previous and current crop of players heading into international tournaments, the Three Lions undeniably boast a far more cohesive and well-rounded squad this time around. Whether it be for the versatility of their defensive players or the variety of attackers within the ranks, England are amongst the youngest, most promising, and capable sides in Europe.
In the likes of Jordan Henderson, Kyle Walker, Raheem Sterling, and Harry Kane, among others, the national team have the wealth of experience personnel required to challenge for international trophies. Additionally, having cultivated a healthy environment for sustainable progress on the pitch, Southgate, too, remains pivotal to their chances of winning the World Cup next year.
Although the team are unlikely to replicate their excellent Euro’s run at the World Cup, the Three Lions have all the pieces in place to challenge win the trophy in 2022. Given the tournament could be the last World Cup appearance for a majority of the squad’s senior players, the pressure will likely mount on the manager to deliver the nation’s first international trophy since their 1966 World Cup triumph.
Squad Depth & Mercurial Quality
Alongside France, England are, arguably, the only nation to boast envious squad depth across all positions on the pitch in recent years. Since their underwhelming semi-final loss in 2018, the national team have significantly bolstered their ranks, having provided numerous debuts and ensured sustainable balance within the squad. While previous managers have been accused of prioritising a place for every star player in the starting XI ahead of constructing a balanced line-up, Southgate has managed to, arguably, reward good performances whilst fielding a balanced starting XI across most international fixtures.
In Marcus Rashford, Jadon Sancho, and Jack Grealish, among others, the national team have amongst the most influential players in world football. Least to say, Southgate has been excellent in fostering a competitive yet enamouring environment amidst several ambitious egos within the ranks. Provided they build on their modus operandi and can utilize the squad to their full potential, the upcoming World Cup could prove to be a cakewalk for this highly promising England side.
Although Southgate is amongst the least coveted for a footballing philosophy, the former player has managed to produce results on the pitch. England’s encouraging 12-game unbeaten run came to halt following their disappointing Euro’s loss to Italy in the summer but the team have since managed to win three games, having scored nine goals during the ongoing World Cup Qualifiers last month.
Under Southgate, the national team have won 41 of their 60 games, having suffered 11 losses and 8 draws across all international fixtures since his appointment. This, in addition to their promising runs in recent tournaments, adds to the nation’s prospects of winning the World Cup next year. Provided they build on their recent achievements and begin to play to their potential, England could eventually become amongst the most feared sides in the tournament in Qatar.The upcoming tournament offers the nation their golden opportunity to win the trophy owing to the wealth of talent within the ranks and their recent form of having made it to the penultimate stage in recent international competitions.