Can England Finally win the World Cup? Analysis and Explanation
"It's coming home" is a phrase we heard often in the English lands every time a FIFA World Cup is getting closer. But the last time it came true was 56 years ago in 1966 in London, where the host country managed to beat the Federal Republic of Germany by 4-2 with Geoff Hurst's hat-trick and Martin Peter's second goal.
Of course, that glory has an explanation: An awesome team with a clear 4-4-2 formation thought by coach Alf Ramsey (who sadly passed away in 1999) and some historic players like United's legend Bobby Charlton, Liverpool's Roger Hunt, and captain Bobby Moore.
That was the first and last time the England National Team would lift the most desired trophy. After that, the closest they got to the final were the years 1990, losing 2-1 against Italy, and in 2018 as Belgium managed to beat The Three Lions by 2-0. Both matches competing for third place.
Nevertheless, that last defeat against Kevin De Bruyne's side in Russia marked a turning point for the English. For the first time in many years and World Cups, they finally felt the sensation of having a team that can compete and beat anyone.
Since then, England keep increasing, playing better, and scoring more goals every year. In 2019, they won seven out of eight games of the Euro 2020 Qualifying, losing one match against the Czech Republic. During those matches, they managed to score 33 goals (most than any other nation) and concede just 6. Also that same year, Southgate`s team finished in third place in the UEFA Nations League by beating Switzerland on penalties.
In 2020, after the COVID lockdown, the team played all eight games of the year with 3 central defenders and two offensive wing-backs in a formation that made Kieran Trippier and Trent Alexander Arnold two of the most influential players on the team, assisting Foden, Kane and Calvert Lewin with crosses more than six times. Although they won only five of those matches, the goalkeepers Jordan Pickford and Nick Pope conceded 4 goals, less than in 2019 and making England the team with fewer goals against in Europe that year.
But the peak was last year, in 2021, where The Lions were unbeaten during the whole year, as in the 19 matches played they won 16, tying on three occasions ( 1-1 with Hungary and Poland) and in the Euro`s final when after another 1-1 in the 120 minutes played at Wembley, Italy and a heroic Gianluigi Donnaruma took the trophy out of captain´s Harry Kane hands.
Four years later, with experienced players leading the dressing room like Harry Kane, Harry Maguire, and Kyle Walker, players on their peak such as Raheem Sterling, Mason Mount, and Jack Grealish, and world-class rising stars like Phil Foden, Buyako Saka, and Jude Bellingham, Gareth Southgate's side is strong in every line, plays well, and completes an awesome team with huge names that could surprise and reach the final in Qatar.
Continue Reading: Biggest surprises in the FIFA World Cup - Part 1