FIFA World Cup 2022 Team Guides Part 5: England | England

This article is part of the Guardian newspaper World Cup 2022 Expert NetworkIt is a collaboration between the best media organizations from 32 qualified countries. theguardian.com is running previews from two countries every day in the run-up to the tournament that kicks off November 20.

the plan

It’s hard not to conclude that this now applies or does not apply to the England of Gareth Southgate. They came painfully close under the 52-year-old, reaching the last World Cup semi-finals and Lost to Italy on penalties In the Euro 2020 final, if those who almost erred are viewed from an optimistic perspective, there is an argument that glory can be achieved if all the pieces fall into place.

After all, while the last look wasn’t convincing, this remains a very talented group. The creative options are enviable and Declan Rice and Judd Bellingham are two of the best young midfielders. Harry Kane is one of the best strikers in the world.

However, the feeling remains that the cycle is coming to an end. Problems have escalated this year – a barren Nations League run, Harry Maguire struggles and injuries to Reese James and Kyle Walker presenting a potential headache on the right side of defense – and it may be time for Southgate to leave, even if his deal goes through. Until the end of 2024. “I know I will be judged based on what happens at that time world Cup‘, says the coach. ‘I’m not arrogant enough to think my contract will protect me.’

Southgate accepts the approach of the crucial moment. England Under pressure to attack. There will be anger if they come out in a timid manner.

But don’t write off this band yet. There have been signs of life lately 3-3 draw with Germany It should be negotiated with relative ease with a group that includes Iran, Wales and the United States. In Southgate’s view, some of the panic is exaggerated. He’s proven to be an expert in the tournament and, given the fair winds, England have the ability to go further.