Previous World Cup appearances: 15
Best finish: Winners (1966)
World Cup record: W29 D21 L19
Biggest win: 6-1 Panama (2018)
Player to watch: Harry Kane
Fixtures: Iran (November 21), USA (November 25), Wales (November 29)
England’s 1966 World Cup win at Wembley Stadium remains a rallying point of English identity, and fans believe they are owed a major victory after so many years.
Having qualified for Qatar 2022 unbeaten, Gareth Southgate’s Lions are gunning for glory.
They finished fourth at the last World Cup and were runners-up at the delayed Euro 2020, and would likely be disappointed if they didn’t get a decent run in Qatar.
Their recent run of form in the League of Nations – zero wins in six games – means England might need an excellent start against Iran to bolster their confidence.
While several teams are built around a single global superstar, England is without such a golden child.
— England (@England) November 15, 2022
Harry Kane, who leads the team by example, scoring 51 goals in his 75 England appearances, is undoubtedly a world-class player. But he is supported by a solid squad, all performing to a high level in the world’s top leagues, giving the team some commanding personalities at all areas on the pitch.
England has a rich history at the World Cup, having failed to qualify on only three occasions since 1950 – West Germany (1974), Argentina (1978), USA (1994). They have failed to clear the group stage just three times in 15 World Cup runs and have bowed out in the quarter-finals nine times.
With six goals at Russia 2018, Kane stands a chance of breaking Gary Lineker’s record of 10 to become England’s highest World Cup goalscorer. But do watch out for youngsters Jude Bellingham in midfield and Bukayo Saka in attack.
England is expected to sail through their group, which according to FIFA world rankings, is one of the most competitive. Wales, the USA and Iran may all give the Three Lions a run for their money, but England should qualify comfortably.
England has come a long way since 1950 when their first World Cup saw the tournament favourites beaten 1-0 by a USA team featuring a postman and a funeral director.
Could this be the year they finally “bring football home”? Whatever happens, just don’t let it go to penalties.