Can England build on recent experiences at major competitions to win the 2022 World Cup?


Always the bridesmaid never the bride — that old adage appears to be no truer than in the case of the England national team. Despite a successful transition from a mediocre, ageing side under Roy Hodgson, to this unified and exuberant next generation, Gareth Southgate just can’t seem to get over the line in a major tournament. But with the World Cup slowly appearing on the horizon, and a favourable draw to boot, could this be the summer football comes home?

Its certainly an ambitious request, but with the experiences this group of England players have learnt, and with fresh talent frequently cropping up on home soil and in Europe — the likes of Jude Bellingham and Tammy Abraham playing in different leagues across the continent — Southgate could brew a perfect storm ready for the trip to Qatar. 

The Three Lions will be guaranteed to face the United States and Iran, but the intercontinental qualifiers will decide on their final opponent. Either Scotland, Wales or Ukraine will receive the final slot in Group B but regardless of who they face, England should be firm favourites in a variety of predictions, with more on

England have made easy work in the group stage of their last two competitions, and a loss to Belgium in the final match of the 2018 World Cup groups set them up for a much more favourable tournament passage. They now have a side that is proven to be resilient, and Southgate has shown he has a clear plan for the challenges his side will face in Qatar.

“We’re in on day one, it’s clear what our programme looks like after the Premier League. He said: “We’ve got to get out the group. What we’ve done well is approaching the group, getting out, regardless of the opposition, and go from there. All of our thoughts are with Ukraine, when that tie is played, it’s irrelevant it’s for the rest of us to adapt and adjust.

The hard part will be navigating their way to the latter stages of the tournament. Yes, this is a side that boasts several Premier League and European Cup winners, but they were overzealous in Russia against Croatia, and you only have to look at the capitulation in the third-place playoff to see things can go wrong just as quickly. There was clear improvement in the Euros, but despite having home advantage in all but one of their games, Italy managed to overcome them on penalties at Wembley.

There’s certainly a lot of thick skins in that dressing room, with Bukayo Saka and Jadon Sancho showing no signs of regression or loss of confidence after missing in the shoot-out, although the latter is in his teething stages with Manchester United after an expensive move from Borussia Dortmund.

Two major international tournaments and England have made exponential growth, you wonder if they can indeed ride the crest of a wave in Qatar, or will the physiological ghost of Wembley’s penalty loss continue to plague Southgate and co. when it matters most.