Gareth Southgate’s Three Lions side will be hoping to make consecutive finals appearances at major international competitions later this year – and go one step better and lift the trophy this time.
England reached the semi-finals of the 2018 World Cup four years ago as an upturn in international fortunes began under Southgate, before reaching the final at Euro 2020. Now in Qatar the aim will remain the same, to end the long wait since 1966 for a breakthrough on the biggest stage.
Three matches in the group stage and then three more knock-out fixtures must be navigated to the final before the trophy is captured at the 80,000-seat Lusail Stadium on 18 December.
England navigated the qualifiers with ease to reach Qatar, winning eight and drawing two to finish ahead of Poland, Albania, Hungary, Andorra and San Marino. But many of those matches were opportunities for Southgate and his coaches to implement early plans and get a sense of how the team can continue to search for success this winter.
Here’s the route England will take to reach the final of the World Cup for the first time in more than 50 years, and which sides they will face along the way.
If England wins Group B:
Runner-up from Group A, so likely Senegal (Above Qatar and Ecuador, the Netherlands were favored to finish top), especially as African champions.
Winner of a tie between the winner of Group D and the runner-up of Group C: Likely FranceShould they finish top of their group – ahead of Denmark, Tunisia and Australia/UAE/Peru – and then beat any one of Argentina, Saudi Arabia, Mexico and Poland.
The winners of Group F and Group H could find their way through to the semi-finals to meet England if they were to go that far, meaning a possible semi-final between England and belgium either portugal,
A final could finally see England play after making their way through the knock-out stages as runners-up Spain, Germany or Brazil in the final.
If England finish as runners-up in Group B:
winner from Group A, so there is a possibility Netherlands (over Senegal, Qatar or Ecuador).
Winner of a tie between the winner of Group C and the runner-up of Group D: Argentina could emerge to face England here should they top their group as favorites over Saudi Arabia, Mexico and Poland and then eliminate one of Denmark, Peru/Australia/UAE and Tunisia needed.
The winners of Group E and Group G could find their way into the semi-finals to meet England if they get this far, meaning a possible semi-final between England and the winner Spain/Germany And Brazil,
A final could finally see England play after making their way through the knock-out stages as runners-up France, belgium either portugal in the final.
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