News

England can win World Cup 2022 but we will have to be close to perfect, says Gareth Southgate



Gareth Southgate believes England will be “there to be shot at” when the Qatar World Cup begins in November after telling his players they have what it takes to win football’s ultimate trophy.

England will learn their group stage opponents when the draw takes place in Doha on Friday and are one of the tournament favourites.

The competition’s 32 teams will be divided into eight groups of four and, having been included in Pot 1, England will avoid fellow top seeds Brazil, Belgium, France, Argentina, Spain, Portugal and the host nation. Tough potential opponents, however, include Pot 2’s Germany, the Netherlands and Croatia.

Yet regardless of the outcome of the draw Southgate has already spoken to his squad and shared his view that they clearly have the potential to win the country’s first major trophy in 56 years, after reaching the World Cup semi-final in 2018 and finishing runner up at Euro 2020.

More from Football

“My visions are always about the team and what they would do and how that would look,” Southgate said. “What have we said to the team this week? That if we can get to a semi final, we can get to a final, and we did. If we can get to a final, we can win. That’s clear.

“To do that is incredibly difficult and we’ll have to be as close to perfect as can be. That’s the challenge for us, not just when we get to Qatar because we’ve got to be in the right condition, even before that. Thats what we’ve got to work towards every day we’re together.”

The England manager is sure that his team’s recent tournament record, and fifth place in the Fifa rankings, will place a target on their back and make opponents extra motivated to beat them.

Especially after friendly wins against Switzerland and Ivory Coast during the recent international break took England’s unbeaten run to a record 22 games.

Although it remains to be seen whether that will remain intact during the six Nations League games – playing European Champions Italy, who did not qualify for Friday’s draw, Germany and Hungary home and away – between now and the World Cup.

“We’ve definitely got respectability and I think we will be a team other teams wouldn’t look forward to playing,” Southgate said. “But that’s a double edged sword because some teams are going to prepare differently for you.

“You’re there to be shot at and they are going to have a specific way of playing to try and stop you. But some will be a little bit fearful of you and might allow you more of the game, so from our point of view, what really matters is how it makes us feel about ourselves – and the evidence of the performances and the results gives the players belief and confidence, which is a hugely important quality going into a tournament.”

Southgate is not convinced, however, that the overwhelming majority of his current group will be at their peak for the tournament. While players such as captain Harry Kane and star performer Raheem Sterling are in their prime, players such as Phil Foden, 21, Jude Bellingham, 18, and 23 year olds Mason Mount and Declan Rice will have some of their best years ahead of them in future tournaments.

Related Stories

“Certainly we know we’ve had consistent performances over a three, four year period and we are one of the teams – I think there are few – that could win this tournament,” Southgate added. “You only have to look through Pot 1 and think there are a number of teams that have won in the last few years – Portugal would be in that, France would be in that, so they’ve both won major tournaments and they’ve both won the Nations League.

“And then there are going to be a couple of teams in Pot 2 as well that are going to be a real threat. That’s putting aside the fact any number of teams can beat an opponent on a given day. That’s the jeopardy of a World Cup. We are pleased with the way we are progressing. We are really pleased with the group of players we have to work with and we’ve just got to keep working with them and pushing them.”

Source link

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published.