FIFA World Cup Special : Team Talk – England’s youthful squad must not choke in another prestigious event

In-form England will start their World Cup journey on 18th June against Tunisia.

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World Cup 2018 is knocking the doors and the 32 participating nations are now highly enthusiastic and fully focused upon completion of club football. They are proud to represent their countries in such a prestigious event and a few of them, on paper, are capable of achieving big but let the fans down massively in recent years. England are probably one of them.

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They are one of the most popular countries when it comes to football. They have won the prestigious World Cup title back in 1966 but massively let down their supporters in recent years. They were knocked out from the Group stage four years back and have a young set of players this term to script a glorious run. Although they will be thoroughly scrutinized throughout the journey, the expectations are relatively lower than the previous editions.

Team: England

Coach: Gareth Southgate

Captain: Harry Kane

Nickname(s): Three Lions

Last Qualified: 2014

Result in 2014: Group Stage Exit

Qualified From: UEFA

Previous World Cup Appearances: 15 Times

Best World Cup Finals Result: Winners 1966

The Final Squad:

GOALKEEPERS: Jack Butland (Stoke), Jordan Pickford (Everton), Nick Pope (Burnley).

DEFENDERS: Trent Alexander-Arnold (Liverpool), Gary Cahill (Chelsea), Fabian Delph (Manchester City), Phil Jones (Manchester United), Harry Maguire (Leicester), Danny Rose (Tottenham), John Stones (Manchester City), Kieran Trippier (Tottenham), Kyle Walker (Manchester City), Ashley Young (Manchester United).

MIDFIELDERS: Dele Alli, Eric Dier (both Tottenham), Jordan Henderson (Liverpool), Jesse Lingard (Manchester United), Ruben Loftus-Cheek (Chelsea).

FORWARDS: Harry Kane (Tottenham), Marcus Rashford (Manchester United), Raheem Sterling (Manchester City), Jamie Vardy (Leicester), Danny Welbeck (Arsenal)

Key Players

1) Harry Kane

The Tottenham Hotspur hitman will be leading his nation as he is regarded as the most influential figure of their youthful line-up. The gaffer is banking on his prolific goal-scoring form for both club and the country and the skipper, therefore, must match the expectations to guide England towards glory.

2) Dele Alli

The Three Lions do not have the quality of Steven Gerrard, Frank Lampard, Paul Scholes and David Beckham in their midfield anymore, but the stars of their current generation are capable of knocking down any opponent on their day. Dele Alli, Kane’s Spurs teammate, is the one who is lauded as their future sensation and the stage is set for the midfield attacker to justify the hype.

3) Raheem Sterling

Has undergone a weird ‘tattoo‘ controversy last week, but the prolific wingman is capable of terrorising the opponent’s defensive line with his swift movements, footwork, pace and power down the wing. The youngster was one of the key contributors of Manchester City’s record-breaking Premier League triumph this term, but must work on his finishing skills and stop wasting too many opportunities in their attacking third.

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Recent Form:

England had sheer dominance in the qualifiers as they remained unbeaten throughout and grabbed 26 points out of available 30 en route to their road to Russia and maintained the streak in recent friendlies with wins over Netherlands and Nigeria and a draw against Italy. They will be contesting Costa Rica in their final warm-up fixture on 7th June prior to the main event just over a week later.

Group Matches:

England were drawn in Group G alongside TunisiaBelgium, and Panama. They will play Tunisia in their opening match on 18th of June, followed by Panama and Belgium on 24th and 28th June respectively.

Prediction:

Gareth Southgate, the former England U21 gaffer, has done a commendable job since replacing Sam Allardyce following his controversial short stint but must hold the nerve in such a gigantic event in order to overcome the hurdles. They should proceed through to the Round of 16 but must try to finish as group leaders ahead of Belgium in order to avoid a tough test in the next round. England are capable of making it to the quarterfinals at least.

Trivia

Part of the reason that England didn’t take part in the World Cups prior to 1950 was that they thought they were so much better than other countries that it wasn’t worth it. Not only that, but when they lost the inaugural match in the 1950 WC 1-0 to the USA the reporters back in England had a hard time believing this.

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