England (Three Lions)

Champions: 1 (1966)
Semi-Finalists: 2 (1990, 2018)
Quarter-Finalists: 7 (1954, 1962, 1970, 1982, 1986, 2002, 2006).
Round of 16: 2 (1998, 2010)
Group Stage: 3 (1950, 1958, 2014)
Current FIFA Ranking: 5

Harry Kane

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Phil Foden

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Kieran Trippier

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Gareth Southgate

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Group B Schedule

Game 1 – Monday 21st November 2022


16:00 Qatar Time/13:00 GMT

Khalifa International Stadium, Doha

Game 2 – Friday 25th November 2022


22:00 Qatar Time/19:00 GMT

Al Bayt Stadium, Al Khor

Game 3 – Tuesday 29th November 2022​


22:00 Qatar Time/19:00 GMT

Ahmad bin Ali Stadium, Al Rayyan

Notable Honours


England’s greatest honour remains lifting the World Cup on home soil in 1966. England have regularly reached the latter stages in international tournaments. However, a series of agonising knockout stage exits contributed to a barren run of 54 years without reaching a major tournament final. That is, until the recent edition of the European Championship, taking second place in Euro 2020.


Considered by many to be the spiritual ‘home of football’, England, alongside Scotland, boasts the world’s oldest national team. Indeed, the first officially recognised international match was played in 1872 between the two nations – a 0-0 draw. Therefore, it is surprising that England didn’t enter the first three World Cup tournaments between 1930 and 1938. This was because England withdrew from FIFA from 1928 until 1946. Officially, England left due to a dispute over payment to amateur players. However, the presiding mood was one of resentment and insubordination to FIFA and a general feeling that England was superior in any case. England’s 3-2 victory over Italy in what was dubbed the Battle of Highbury in 1934 was used as evidence that England need not take part in the fledgling World Cup. Indeed, England and Scotland’s matches during the 1930s against the likes of the continent’s strongest sides, such as Italy, Germany and Austria, resulted in zero defeats and only sought to reinforce this impression.

England Relents

After re-joining FIFA in 1946 following the expulsions of Germany and Japan, England subsequently entered the 1950 tournament in Brazil. Expectations were sky-high, and why wouldn’t they be? England’s reputation on the field was formidable, to say the least. What transpired after that was a farce. England laboured to a 2-0 victory over part-timers Chile and then, shockingly, lost 1-0 to the USA in what perhaps remains the most famous victory of all time for the Americans. Another 1-0 defeat at the hands of Spain resulted in an ignominious exit for the pre-tournament favourites.

In the lead-up to the 1954 World Cup in Switzerland, England’s aura of superiority, already damaged by events in 1950, had been ruthlessly destroyed by the Mighty Magyars 6-3 in a match dubbed ‘the Match of the Century’. Hungary, with the likes of Ferenc Puskás, Sándor Kocsis, Nándor Hidegkuti, Zoltán Czibor, József Bozsik, and Gyula Grosics were purveyors of prototypical Total Football. Indeed, this chastening defeat was to revolutionise tactics in England and beyond. This time, England did manage to progress beyond the group stage but were matched with reigning champions Uruguay and bowed out with a 4-2 defeat, which represented an improvement upon their last showing. 1958 saw another group stage exit, and 1962 saw a second-round exit to Brazil. However, by this point, the Brazilians were unanimously considered the best team in the world and had a vast array of talent to call on.

Football Came Home

For England fans, 1966 needs no introduction. It has been both a joyous triumph and a millstone around their neck for teams attempting to follow in the 1966 side’s footsteps. England had made significant tactical strides under the management of Alf Ramsey with the wingless wonders designed to nullify opposition threats with a back four containing West Ham captain Bobby Moore and a holding player at the base of midfield in Nobby Styles. Ramsey was also unafraid to select relatively unheralded names, with Jimmy Greaves unable to regain his place from Geoff Hurst following injury. Following a tepid 0-0 draw with twice World champions Uruguay, a comfortable 2-0 victory over Mexico courtesy of goals from Bobby Charlton and Roger Hunt preceded a win over the French via the same scoreline, with Hunt grabbing a brace.

A scrappy quarter-final against Argentina eventually ended in a 1-0 victory. Hurst grabbed the winner late in the second half to set up a semi-final with a very impressive Portuguese team with a celebrated core of talented Benfica players. England was determined to stop forward Eusebio at all costs, with Styles, in particular, subjecting the star to some rough treatment. Though Eusebio eventually found the net via the penalty spot in the 82nd minute, the English had already done the damage. Two goals from their star man Charlton ensured the hosts would contest the final on home soil. The Portuguese were enraged about the last-minute change of venue from Villa Park to Wembley, which they felt had unfairly benefited the host nation.

England now faced rivals West Germany in the final, with the Germans aiming to lift the trophy for the second time. With Beckenbauer and Charlton seemingly man-marking each other out of the game, Hurst cancelled Helmut Haller’s opener to leave the scores level at 1-1 in the 18th minute. A full hour later, England took the lead through Martin Peters and seemed to have the game wrapped up before Wolfgang Weber scored a last-minute equaliser to take the game to extra time. A controversial third goal for England and a second for Hurst followed as nobody was exactly sure if the ball had crossed the line after it came down off the underside of the bar. The debate over this event lingers to this day. In the end, Hurst’s third goal of the game sealed the game for the English.

The Case for the Defence

Between 1963 and 1970, the England side under Alf Ramsey lost only five games. As a result, they had gone a long way to restoring their reputation as a top side. A sobering 1-0 defeat to Yugoslavia in the semi-finals of Euro ’68 perhaps soured the mood somewhat. However, the Yugoslavs were a talented team in their own right, and England had never beaten them away from home. England were to advance from Group 3 in Mexico thanks to a couple of industrious 1-0 victories, with Geoff Hurst netting against Romania and Allan Clarke scoring from the spot against Czechoslovakia. These victories sandwiched a 1-0 defeat to pre-tournament favourites Brazil – a team still revered by many football fans to this day.

As fate would have it, England came up against West Germany in the quarter-finals. The Germans were in impressive form, having won all of their group games, scoring ten times in the process. England seemed to shake off their early tournament rust and found themselves two goals up via Allan Mullery and Martin Peters. It took the Germans until the 68th minute to pull a goal back through Franz Beckenbauer. Uwe Seeler’s 82nd-minute effort ensured that an England – West Germany match would again go to extra time. Unfortunately for the English, there were no late heroics this time as the prolific Gerd Muller notched the winner in the 108th minute, with England unable to reply. England’s tournament was ultimately disappointing, but with the 1966 and 1970 editions, they had excised the failures of their 1950s campaigns.


The 1970s saw immense disappointment for England fans. During this period, England failed to qualify for four successive international tournaments – the World Cups of 1974 and 1978 and the European Championships of 1972 and 1976. In qualification for 1974, a disastrous defeat to a talented Polish side meant that England were required to beat Poland at Wembley to qualify. In the end, Poland produced a resolute performance. England failed to qualify, despite having 35 efforts on goal, following a masterclass in goalkeeping from the eccentric Jan Tomaszewski. Indeed, respected football manager Brian Clough had labelled the goalkeeper a ‘clown’ while a pundit for the match.

World Cup qualification for 1978 saw England and Italy in the same group with only one place up for grabs. Ultimately, Italy’s higher goal tally against unfancied Finland and Luxembourg was decisive. Despite having top-tier attacking talent in the form of 1978 and 1979 European footballer of the year Kevin Keegan, Trevor Brooking, and Trevor Francis, they couldn’t quite do enough.

La Mano de Dios

England returned in Spain ’82, failing to progress through a formidable second-round group containing the hosts and West Germany, drawing against both sides 0-0. At Mexico ’86, following a disappointing start in the form of a 1-0 defeat to Portugal and a 0-0 draw with Morocco, England kickstarted their tournament with a 3-0 victory over Poland in the final group game, with talismanic striker Gary Lineker notching a first half hat trick. A comfortable 3-0 win over Paraguay, with a further two goals from Lineker bookending a Peter Beardsley strike, ensured England’s progression to the quarter-finals for the first time in 16 years. Buoyed by their newfound form and eventual golden boot winner Lineker’s goals, England came up against a highly disciplined Argentina side with a difference. Argentina had the world’s best footballer in Diego Maradona, who went on to break English hearts. First, he scored a goal which should have been chalked off for a blatant handball. However, the sheer quality of his second goal, a magnificent dribble from his own half, was undeniable. Indeed, it is now considered one of the most famous goals in history. Lineker replied with a goal of his own in the 81st minute to set up a grandstand finish. However, the English couldn’t muster the all-important equalising goal.

The Old Penemy

Italia ’90, manager Bobby Robson’s second tournament, was a more cautious affair. England narrowly progressed through the group courtesy of a 1-0 win over Egypt following a 1-1 draw with the Republic of Ireland and a 0-0 stalemate against reigning European Champions the Netherlands. A highly talented Belgian side pushed England all the way in their round of 16 encounter. With the imminent prospect of penalties looming, a stunning David Platt volley finally broke the deadlock in the 119th minute of extra time, much to the obvious relief of the English.

A tie with World Cup surprise package Cameroon stood between England and their best World Cup performance since 1966. Things got off to a promising start, with Platt again scoring the opener mid-way through the first half, but Cameroon turned the game on its head following the break. Kunde scored from the spot in the 61st minute, and Ekeke followed up in the 65th minute to ensure that England were staring elimination squarely in the face. With 82 minutes on the clock, England were handed a lifeline from the penalty spot and Lineker duly converted to send the match into extra time. Another Lineker penalty in the 105th minute was enough to secure England’s presence in the semi-finals. The semi-final stage saw England face off once again against West Germany. A closely contested match in which Lineker’s 80th-minute equaliser cancelled out Andreas Brehme’s 60th-minute opener resulted in an England defeat on penalties, which was to become a common theme.

The Golden Generation?

Failure to qualify for the 1994 World Cup was followed by a good showing at Euro ’96, where England were the host. Hence, expectations were high coming into France in 1998. A 2-0 victory over Tunisia, courtesy of Alan Shearer and Paul Scholes, set England on the right trajectory. However, they were brought crashing back to Earth with a 2-1 defeat against a talented Romania side owing to Dan Petrescu’s late winner. Fortunately for England, Colombia did not provide stiff opposition. Indeed, England cruised with a two-goal lead established within the first half an hour following goals from Darren Anderton and David Beckham. Having gone 1-0 down in the fifth minute to a Gabriel Batistuta penalty against Argentina, England rallied. Shearer converted a penalty of his own four minutes later, and a wonder goal from teenager Michael Owen gave the English a 2-1 lead. England could not hang on until half-time as Javier Zanetti levelled in stoppage time following a clever free-kick routine. Unfortunately for the English, they were reduced to 10 men not long after the restart owing to a poor decision from David Beckham to kick out at Diego Simeone. Despite this setback, England were still squarely in the game and used their possession judiciously. Sol Campbell came closest with an 81st-minute header which was controversially chalked off. With the score locked at 2-2, the English again lost on penalties and were out in the round of 16.

There was nothing unlucky about England’s dismantling at the hands of a masterful Brazil side in 2002 – who came from behind to win 2-1 following Michael Owen’s first-half opener. However, subsequent quarter-final exits, again on penalties in Euro 2004 and the 2006 World Cup against Portugal, were to illustrate a recurring theme. There was a feeling that the Golden Generation was a wasted one. Perhaps with the benefit of hindsight, they were given too much credit to begin with, in a similar vein to Portugal’s Golden Generation of the late 90s and early 00s.

The crushing expectation was to rear its ugly head once more in 2010. England had a talented core of Premier League superstars. This included the likes of Wayne Rooney, Steven Gerrard, Rio Ferdinand, Frank Lampard, John Terry, and Ashley Cole. However, they were humbled in the group stage, scraping through with five points courtesy of a 1-0 victory over Slovenia. There had been much frustration following a 1-1 draw against the USA and a 0-0 draw against Algeria. Indeed, Rooney voiced his displeasure over the conduct of the fans due to their booing of the team. In the round of 16, England were to lose 4-1 to a talented, reinvigorated German side under Joachim Low. It was a result that shook English football to its core. However, some might say it had been coming. Outthought, outfought and outclassed, the Germans ran riot. However, it is fair to say that the English carried a threat of their own. Indeed, they would have levelled at 2-2 if not for the absence of goal-line technology, as Lampard’s effort was incorrectly ruled out. Nevertheless, in all likelihood, this egregious error wouldn’t have changed the flow of the game as Germany were imperious.

So Near Yet So Far

Next, there was a highly unimpressive group stage exit in 2014 in which England failed to win a match and finished bottom of a group containing Italy, Uruguay, and Costa Rica. Worse was to follow in a Euro 2016 exit in the form of a shock 2-1 defeat to Iceland (although keener observers would rightfully point out that Iceland had shown some good form at the tournament prior to their encounter). England, therefore, entered Russia in 2018 with understandably lowered expectations. The years of relative failure had finally caught up with them, and it could be said that England didn’t really expect. A nail-biting 2-1 win over Tunisia secured at the death with Harry Kane’s second goal of the game did little to dispel such pessimism. Despite an impressive performance, a 6-1 win over Panama didn’t tell us much either. Belgium edged the group decider 1-0.

England could not see off the Colombians in normal time in the round of 16, with Kane’s 57th-minute penalty cancelled out by a Yerry Mina header deep into injury time. England did, however, shake off their abysmal tournament penalty shootout record following some heroics from Jordan Pickford. Following a strolling 2-0 victory over a listless Sweden following goals from Harry Maguire and Dele Alli, England had seemingly gathered momentum. Indeed, they were to play Croatia for a chance at their first World Cup final in over 50 years. England went into the break with a deserved 1-0 lead following Kieran Trippier’s fifth-minute opener. However, Croatia grew into the match during the second half. England’s defenders, in particular, could not cope with their coordinated pressing approach. Croatia’s superiority eventually told in a heartbreaking 2-1 defeat, as Ivan Perisic equalised in the 68th minute before Mario Mandzukic sealed the win for the Croatians in the 109th minute.

Recent upturns in tournament fortunes, including a defeat on penalties to Italy after reaching the final of Euro 2020, have shielded manager Gareth Southgate from criticism until fairly recently. However, England come into the World Cup reeling from a catastrophic Nations League campaign. Indeed, complaints of an overly conservative approach and questions over team selections have dogged the England camp in the lead-up to Qatar. Does England now expect? Perhaps not, but this conservative approach has reaped its rewards for England with two consecutive deep tournament runs. Southgate will be hoping that it will happen again.

Road to Qualification

UEFA Group I: 1st
Record: Played10  W8  D2  L0  F39  A3  GD:+36  Points:26
Date of Qualification: 15th November 2021

England weren’t troubled during qualification, with only the recently improved Hungary and group runners-up Poland earning one draw each against them. Harry Kane led the way in World Cup qualification goalscoring with 12 goals. As is often the case in World Cup qualifying, England impressed but rarely faced the quality of opposition they will come up against during the tournament proper. The debate will continue if smaller nations should go up against big countries in qualification or if there should be a pre-qualifying play-off system.

Meet the Coach: Gareth Southgate (age 52)

A central defender of some distinction during his playing career, Southgate earned 57 caps for England, scoring twice in the process during a playing career that saw him establish himself as a defensive lynchpin for Crystal Palace, Aston Villa and Middlesbrough. He was also known for his versatility, as he demonstrated he was capable of playing as a defensive midfielder and a sweeper depending on the tactical approach.

Following three years as Middlesbrough manager and a further three as England Under 21’s manager, Southgate was parachuted into the role on a short term basis to replace outgoing manager Sam Allardyce. Two months later, he was appointed on a permanent basis. Southgate is credited with revitalising England’s fortunes following a bleak period for the national team and deserves some credit for providing England with a ‘tournament-ready’ tactical framework. England have typically been well-organised and hard to beat under Southgate. The coach has relied upon the attacking talents of Kane, Sterling and co. to provide the attacking impetus despite a largely conservative approach.

A pragmatic, cautious approach is often results-dependent in that fans will get behind the team as long as the results are positive. This is the only way most will forgive the product on offer. Recently, Southgate has received criticism following a downturn in results. Many believe England should sacrifice some defensive stability to provide a more significant attacking threat. Calls for England to shift to a back four to utilise an additional attacking player were muted somewhat following a heavy 4-0 defeat at the hands of an improving Hungarian side. England responded with an improved but somewhat shaky performance in a breakneck 3-3 draw with Germany.

Meet the Coach: Gareth Southgate
(age 52)

Southgate may continue with five at the back and one or two holding players in midfield. This approach resulted in a World Cup semi-final and a European Championship final. With Qatar very close, we can expect more of the same against more formidable opposition, though he may play four at the back in the group stage. Southgate has also shown a reluctance to experiment in several key positions. Therefore, Harry Maguire is expected to retain his place despite his well-publicised poor performances. It is hoped that the Manchester United captain can play his way into good form at this late stage. Indeed, he has previously impressed in a back five on international duty. In addition to a conservative formation and team selection, England prefer to control possession where possible. They try to fashion chances from link-up play between Harry Kane, a forward-running Bellingham, and two supporting wingers, with overlapping wing backs presenting opportunities for overloads.

Pickford is the undisputed number one between the sticks, although Newcastle’s Nick Pope will push hard for a start. Manchester City’s John Stones and Tottenham’s Eric Dier should line up alongside Maguire in the heart of defence following impressive seasons for both, though in more gentle games Dier could be sacrificed for a midfielder or forward and a change of shape. Kieran Trippier is a reliable presence defensively and going forward. Southgate should prefer him to the talented but cavalier Trent Alexander-Arnold, who may be used situationally. On the other side, Luke Shaw has previously provided a threat for the English as a left wing-back. Indeed, he has seen off competition at club level for his spot via a spell of good form. In midfield, Kalvin Phillips could yet play his way into contention for the group stage. However, Declan Rice and Jude Bellingham may prove difficult to dislodge. Phil Foden’s place will be under significant pressure from Mason Mount, Bukayo Saka, and perhaps the in-form James Maddison. Kane is nailed as the team’s central striker. He scores goals and provides a significant creative threat with his impressive vision and range of passing. Chelsea’s Raheem Sterling provides a considerable goal threat of his own and can always be relied upon to make runs in behind to stretch defences. Jack Grealish deputises for him.

Final Squad


Goalkeepers: Jordan Pickford, Aaron Ramsdale, Nick Pope.

Defenders: Kieran Trippier, Trent Alexander-Arnold, Kyle Walker, Ben White, Harry Maguire, John Stones, Eric Dier, Conor Coady, Luke Shaw.

Midfielders: Declan Rice, Jude Bellingham, Kalvin Phillips, Jordan Henderson, Conor Gallagher, Mason Mount.

Forwards: Harry Kane, Callum Wilson, Marcus Rashford, Raheem Sterling, Bukayo Saka, Phil Foden, Jack Grealish, James Maddison.

Key Players







Harry Kane

Date and Place of Birth: (28.07.1993, London)
Current Club: Tottenham Hotspur
Caps/Goals: 75/51

England’s goalscorer-in-chief, much will rest upon Kane’s ability to both score goals himself and create them for others. Kane acts as the focal point for most of England’s attacks, with his superior passing and vision facilitating his role as a floating attacker in the trequartista tradition. While he lacks pace, he makes up for it with clinical, first-time finishing, and he possesses the instinct, awareness and technique to create space for himself. If that wasn’t enough, Kane is highly prolific for a striker of this nature. Indeed, he has scored over 20 goals in a Premier League season on five occasions and boasts an impressive goalscoring record at both international and European club levels. A very intelligent player, England need him fully fit and on top form to have a successful tournament.

Phil Foden

Date and Place of Birth: (28.05.2000, Stockport)
Current Club: Manchester City
Caps/Goals: 18/2

We fully expect Phil Foden to be given ample opportunity to translate his increasingly impressive club form into a valuable contribution for England. He is a highly energetic, buzzing attacking midfielder who can seemingly pop up everywhere over the course of 90 minutes; Foden has both the opportunity and the stage to establish himself as indispensable for England as a link-up player and a goal threat in his own right. Indeed, his passing, vision, and ability to carry the ball will be indispensable weapons for Southgate. He has also contributed significantly more goals per game so far this season for Manchester City, which England will hope is a good sign of things to come.

Kieran Trippier

Date and Place of Birth: (19.09.1990, Bury)
Current Club: Newcastle United
Caps/Goals: 37/1

Defensively reliable with a reputation for providing accurate crosses and a significant dead-ball threat, the highly experienced Trippier will be crucial in Qatar for his ability to combine defensive tenacity with a potent attacking threat. This is borne out statistically in the Premier League, as Trippier leads the way with 50 successful crosses (1st in PL), 148 passes into the final third (2nd), 32 chances created (3rd) and 20 chances created from set pieces (2nd). Given the conservative nature of the England setup and their prowess at attacking dead-ball situations, we can expect to see the Newcastle man play a prominent role.

Beat the Bookmaker Verdict:

Round of 16