Skip to main content

World Cup Preview and Predictions: The Definitive Guide To England Heading into Qatar

Southgate's time is running out. He must find an effective style to succeed.

England arrives in Qatar after very good performances in the past World Cup and UEFA Euros, reaching the semifinal and final, respectively. Gareth Southgate has a huge responsibility to finally end a 66-year drought without a major title.

As always, England has good players, especially now that the Premier League is undoubtedly the best league in the world. We are talking about stars like Harry Kane, Phil Foden, Jack Grealish, and many others.

England makes its debut on Monday, November 21 against Iran, then faces the United States on November 25, and closes its group stage against Wales on November 29.

Strenghts: Attacking options

"The Three Lions" have real dynamite in the final third of the pitch, with players of different profiles that are capable of breaking down any defense. All this offensive power hinges on one man: Harry Kane, who will soon become England's all-time leading scorer.

Gareth Southgate has at his disposal players with great creativity such as Phil Foden and Jack Grealish, weapons with high pace like Raheem Sterling and Bukayo Saka, as well as two mixed midfielders in the form of Jude Bellingham and Declan Rice.

Regardless of the formation, whether it is a 4-2-3-1 or 3-4-3, England will be able to shape its attacking weapons against any opponent that puts up resistance.

Weaknesses: Defense, lack of familiarity with play style

We can agree that England's defense is quite fragile, largely because of Southgate's selections. While men like Smalling and Tomori are putting in good performances in Italy, the manager is still hell-bent on using Harry Maguire, who in recent seasons has been a nightmare.

Although John Stones is pretty decent, he is far from being a top center back, while Eric Dier is naturally a defensive midfielder converted to a defender.

England are currently on a six-game winless streak, and this situation has led Southgate to experiment with a new formation, although it is a risky move with the World Cup just around the corner.

The 3-4-3 set-up is unfamiliar to most of the players England has, and that may be a future problem at the World Cup. When the British face a team that demands them defensively, things may turn dark.

Player to watch: Jude Bellingham

This 19-year-old has everything it takes to succeed in the game, and the World Cup will be the great showcase that will allow him to jump to a bigger team, possibly Real Madrid.

Jude Bellingham can do absolutely everything. The Borussia Dortmund midfielder is capable of stealing the ball and passing it cleanly; he is also skilled at lobbing passes between the lines that turn into good attacking opportunities.

If there is one thing that is certain, it is that Southgate is going to play with double-pivots, either 3-4-3 or 4-2-3-1. In both circumstances, Jude Bellingham will be the glue that will allow England to function effectively.

Prediction: Quarter-Finals

England will not have an easy group. They will play against the golden generation of the United States, a team they have never beaten in the World Cup. They will also face Gareth Bale's Wales, a side that has been successful in short tournaments.

The British will be able to win Group B, although with nothing to spare.

Once in the Round of 16, they will probably face Senegal or Ecuador, two teams that will not be at the same level as the "Three Lions".

Once in the quarterfinals, they will face either France or Denmark, two established teams. France has the best attacking power in the world, while Denmark has a well-established game plan. England can hardly beat either of these two teams to reach the semifinals.