England are the only national team to have reached the semi finals of their last two major tournaments, hence why they are the fifth favourites to win the 2022 FIFA World Cup in Qatar – but they are also winless in their last six games and just got relegated in the UEFA Nations League.
Add in certain fitness and injury problems, defenders in poor form, and a dilemma about what formation Gareth Southgate should play, and it seems as though there is a lot of uncertainty around England going into the World Cup.
So in this video, HITC Sevens takes a look at England's strengths and weaknesses going into the 2022 World Cup, and what we can expect of them in terms of systems, personnel, performances, and results.
England go into the 2022 World Cup as The only team to have reached the Semi-finals of the last two major Tournaments namely Euro 2020 and the 2018 World Cup of course England failed To win either the world cup or the Euros Losing to Croatia an extra time in 2018 In the semi-finals and to Italy on Penalties in the final in 2021 but it is A level of consistency without peer Within the international game over the Past two tournaments and it is reflected In England's odds as the fifth favorites To win the World Cup in Qatar prized at Around seven or eight to one those are The positives on the flip side England Are not in good form going into this World cup without a win in any of their Last six matches which included a Four-nil drubbing at the hands of Hungary who didn't even manage to Qualify for this world cup and they were Just relegated from League a of the UEFA Nations League added to that England and Have several Fitness or injury concerns Already without Rhys James and Ben Chilwell meanwhile Carl Walker and Calvin Phillips will both be on the Plane but won't have played much Football in Phillips's case or any in Walkers for Manchester City in recent Months then you have got the uncertainty Surrounding Harry MaGuire whose poor Form has led to him getting dropped by
Manchester United and he also made Mistakes during the last International Break for England but there is no Obvious replacement for him at Center-back throw in the Dilemma about Which system Southgate will deploy Whether to start foden or sucker or both And to drop Raheem Sterling the ongoing Precariousness of Trent Alexander Arnold's status within this England Squad and the sense that Southgate Doesn't know how to get the best out of His assortment of attacking options and It feels as though there is an awful lot Of uncertainty about what to expect of England both in terms of performances And results going going into this world Cup now that we know England's 26-man Squad for the 2022 World Cup though I Wanted to try and analyze England's Prospects at this world cup taking a Look at their potential tournament path And contemplating their strengths Weaknesses and ultimately their overall Prospects in Qatar I made a very similar Video to this one ahead of Euro 2020 in Which as I remembered at least I got Everything pretty much spot on but you Know what they say lightning doesn't Strike twice in the same place so this Will probably be a load of old swaddle From start to finish that ages worse Than Jonathan gullis the 32 year old Conservative MP forced Stoke-on-Trent as
You can see very clearly from this Google Search though that saying is Actually a myth and lightning can indeed Strike twice in the same place Repeatedly especially if it is a tall And isolated object well I'm about six Foot and I have nothing thing other than A microphone with me standing naked in The middle of a field in rural Texas Right now so I figured that it was worth A go The first big concern about England Heading into this world cup though we Might as well address right off the bat Is what color is Phil foden going to dye His hair No no not really it's England's terrible Form as I said in the introduction England are winless in their last six Internationals which is their longest Run without a win since 1993 and their Longest ever going into a major Tournament it's doubly unusual for this Particular England team since the one They'll defeats are hungry witch began This run of six games without a win back In June brought it into England's Longest ever unbeaten run of 22 games Since then England have drawn one all With Germany nil nil with Italy lost Four nil to Hungary lost one mil to Italy and Drew thrill with Germany in Their most recent fixture that run of Form led to England deservedly getting
Relegated from group a of the UEFA Nations league and it has led to some Understandable concerns about England's Prospects going into the World Cup Certainly if you were Iran Wales or the USA you would have to take some Confidence from what can only be Described as a major drop-off from this England team so be perfectly honest Though and I know that this might sound A bit odd England's poor form doesn't Really bother me for most of my lifetime England have been the masters of winning Meaningless games and have crumbled when It actually mattered Fabio Capello had An outstanding win percentage as England Boss emerging Victorious from 66.7 Percent of his matches in charge of the Three lines a record which included Victories against the likes of Germany Croatia and Spain but everyone hated him And he only LED England into one major Tournament where we barely scrape Through a rubbish group finished behind The United States before getting Battered by Germany in the first Knockout stage this England team on the Other hand went into the 2018 World Cup With the lowest expectations of any England team at any World Cup and Reached England's first World Cup Semi-final since 1990 and they followed That up three years later admittedly With slightly higher expectations This
Time Around by reaching England's first Final of the major tournament since 1966 And first ever final of the Euros there Were similar doubts around England's Form going into Euro 2020 following Defeats to Belgium and Denmark in the Nations league but I always felt Confident that the players that England Have got would turn up when it mattered I'm less confident going into this world Cup than I was going into the Euros but That is because of question marks about The England defense and other issues That we are about to move on to and not Because of some shoddy results in the Nations League I think this England team Is built well for tournaments they seem To relish the pressure and enjoy being In the close proximity of one another in Base camp for a month they have got some Big characters and they can produce some Big moments when they matter most even When they're not playing their best Almost free flow going football it's Also worth noting that the England team That performs so poorly in most of those Nations League ties and the England team That will start against a run at the World Cup are two very different Football teams if we take the Experimental England team that lost 4-0 To Hungary just as one example it is Likely that only three of that starting 11 will actually start against Iran
Possibly four at the absolute most and Probably in a completely different Formation there was no Jordan Pickford No Declan rice no Raheem Sterling these Are all huge players for England I'm not Justifying losing foil to Hungary just So that we're clear that was a dreadful Result in a freak football match where Hungary buried virtually every site on Goal that they had I would just be wary About trying to trace England's Nations League results and performances onto Their World Cup results and performances With a one-to-one ratio whilst poor form Is something that a lot of people are Concerned about with England but that I'm not England's group is something That most people don't seem remotely Concerned about but that I think could Be really tough sure there is no Argentina or Brazil but there are also No gimmies like Panama like there was Four England in 2018 or a Saudi Arabia Or dare I say even in Australia as England could have drawn at this world Cup the USA have by far the best team That they have ever had whales have an Incredible spirit and resilience about Them and Iran are a really difficult Team to break down who will be Brilliantly organized by Alex Ferguson's Former assistant Carlos quieres and they Are in really good form whales are by Far the toughest pop 4 opponents that
England could possibly have drawn Statistically speaking at least ranked 19th in the FIFA world rankings ahead of The likes of Serbia and Japan the next Highest ranked team in pot 4 was Costa Rica all the way down in 31st Iran are Actually one place below Wales in the Rankings despite having been in pot 3 in The World Cup draw but that still makes Them the second strongest pot 3 team That England could possibly have drawn At this world cup as per the FIFA world Rankings trailing only Senegal even the United States whilst there were Certainly tougher pots or opponents that England could have drawn are still Ranked 16th in the FIFA world rankings And have only lost two of their last 22 Games I don't expect England to win all Three of their group games therefore Although I don't have any specific Inkling as to where they are likely to Slip up and I do think that they will Progress even from a group with no easy Games Iran is the most important game I Think as England's opening game Dismissed as Canon fodder by a lot of England fans despite the fact that they Have lost just two games in the last two Years a run which has included victories Against both Uruguay and Bosnia and Herzegovina and a waddle draw with Senegal ER Iran are one of the most well Organized national teams in the entire
World they'll deploy an extremely low Block Carlos care as well try to ruin Any flow to that football match and make It one of the most tedious games you Have ever watched in your life and England will have to come up with the Answers to try and unlock their backline If england can score first and Iran are Forced to come out and commit men Forward a little bit more that is when England will have the opportunity to Open them up and to really kill the game And I think that will be a similar story Of that first goal being all important And when it's scored for England in the Group stage it is because of the rigid And most likely very defensive systems That England are likely to come up Against that there is a possibility that Gareth Southgate will deviate from his Preferred system of a back three or a Back five depending upon how you like to Define that formation and switch to a Back four in some of those group games That's exactly what he did at the euro Playing a back four in the group stage To try and break down Croatia Scotland And the Czech Republic before switching To a three or five at the back against Germany in the round of 16. uh back four Once again against Ukraine in the Quarterfinals a four against Denmark Again in the semis and then back to a Three in the final against Italy so it
Is something that he has precedent for Doing I think the fact that he went with A three at the back with two Wing backs In England's last International break Before the World Cup which is also England's last games before the World Cup so effectively warm-up fixtures is Fairly conclusive evidence that he Considers that to be his strongest Formation against formidable opposition Unless of course you think that he was Just going for some really elaborate Double Bluff and playing 4D chess I don't I don't actually buy the whole a Back three or back five is too defensive Argument given that almost all good Teams now play with a back three in Possession and a back five out of Possession but nonetheless the Personnel That would make up those three or five Is different depending upon the system That Southgate adopts if England play a Back four in that opening game against Iran you can still expect the fullbacks To adopt really Advanced roles hide the Pitch in possession with Declan race Dropping in just ahead of the two center Backs acting almost as a sweeper and Forming that back three if England play A back five so to speak obviously the Back three will consist of those three Center-backs that start most likely John Stone's Eric Dyer and Harry MaGuire and Declan rice will be a little bit more
Advanced when England are in possession Of the ball personally against a low Block I would be happy to sacrifice a Center-back play race a little bit Deeper and get an extra creative player Whether that is Mason Mount James Madison Jack grealish or Phil foden into Our Midfield and as we have already Established Southgate has Illustrated a Willingness to do just that in the past What I don't think that Gareth Southgate Will do as some people have suggested is Treat England's three group games as Little more than warm-up fixtures to try And figure out new things and to Experiment ahead of The Knockout stage That would be an excellent recipe for Getting knocked out very early on just As England did in their last World Cup Before Southgate took charge of the team In 2014 finishing dead last in their Group he will be well aware of the Challenges that Iran Wales and the USA Pose and I think that he will be Pragmatic in how he approaches each of Those games if england were to win Against Iran and the United States that Would give Southgate the freedom and the Luxury either to rest a couple of Players given that they are going into This world cup mid-season with barely a Week's rest or to start to think about The Knockout stage in terms of his team Selection and formation but that is of
Course a very big if in many respects it Is a defensive quandary that underpins Gareth southgates most serious selection And system dilemmas England have gone From having an abundance of very Talented center-backs for a number of Years Rio Ferdinand John Terry Sol Campbell Jonathan Woodgate ledley King Jamie carragher and so on it's a Center-back actually being their weakest Position that hasn't been borne out of Previous tournaments where Jon stones And Harry MaGuire have both been Excellent but Stones has tended either Not to play at all or to be played at Right back so far this season Maguire Has been dropped after making a series Of Errors at Manchester United and there Are no glaringly obvious replacements For them within this England squad Stones will start of that there can be No doubt and I suspect that Maguire IO Will starts alongside him either in a Four or in a five I think that they will Be southgate's preferred to in a full Because they have played together so Often for England they have done a Really good job and they seem to work Well in a partnership and I think that They will both start in a five unless Cal Walker was fit enough to start in Which case Southgate could play Stone's Darren Walker and leave McGuire out Personally I would start Ben White
Certainly on the right side of a three And probably even in a four but I'm not The England manager so what I think Matters little Kieran trippier is Basically nailed on I think at either Right back or right wing back either in A four or in a five ahead of Trent's Alexander Arnold and I have no real Qualms about that Alexander Arnold has Been out of this world for a few years At Liverpool but he is currently in the Worst form of his career trippier is in His best and Alexander Arnold has never Really been a big player for any England Whereas trippier has having been England's best player a lot of people Tend to forget at the last World Cup Against the rarely top teams if england Do come up against them I could even see Ben White starting at right back if we Were to play a four and I also wouldn't Have too many complaints about that at Left back it will be Luke Shaw as it Would have been even if Ben chilwell Hadn't got injured again I have seen Some people speculate that Southgate Might start trippier left back or left Wing back and Trends on the right but I Would be very surprised if he did that The reality is however you move them Around and you can debate about this Until the cows come home England simply Do not have a formidable defense I would Argue that they don't have a single
World-class Defender they have a good Right back in trip yeah an outstanding Attacking full back who is completely Out of form in Alexander Arnold a good Left back in Shore a good center-back Who isn't playing that much in stones And out of sorts Maguire who hasn't been Playing at all Ben Y2 has been playing But has only won four caps for England Connor Cody who I just can't see getting On the pitch and Dyer who plays in a Three for Spurs and has been admittedly Quite good this season but did also make A mistake against Liverpool some people Argue that if you have got weak center Backs as England do then you should play Fewer of them hence a back four whilst Others say that if you have got weak Sensorbacks as England do then you need Three of them in order to mask their Deficiencies within a back five I'm not Particularly convinced by either of Those arguments but I do think that if It is to be a five which Isis respect That it will be at least if england get Out of the group then Karl Walker Returning would make a whole world of Difference and he could be the key to Shoring up that England backline there Is a danger in a buck five that England Gets overrun in Midfield which is Something that you never want but you Especially don't want it in the desert Heat of Doha Jude Bellingham and Declan
Rice are both outstanding players Probably two of the best four or five Players in this entire England squad but There is only so much that a2a Midfield Unless they are Prime and golo kante and Javi can do up against a three or even a Diamond that's why as I said in a recent Video on the squad and 11 that I would Personally pick I'd go with a three four One two rather than a 343 even when Playing with a buck 5 so that you could Play either Phil foden Mason Mount or Whomever it might be in that number 10 Role which would not only strengthen England's numbers both within and out of Possession in Midfield it would also Suit those players better than playing Out wide in my eyes but once again he Won't do that so it is entirely Irrelevant I do think that the fear of Getting over on a Midfield and Declan Rice and Jude Bellingham getting run Rugged in the Qatari heat is part of the Reason why Gareth Southgate has picked Conor Gallagher in his Squad who was Probably the most surprising inclusion Out of his 26. since we saw particularly During his time at Crystal Palace the Gallagher can run for days he is a Workhorse off the ball and he has that Bit of spark both on and off the ball I Think the fact that he's only 22 and Southgate sees him as part of his plans Long term and wants him to get that feel
Of a major tournament is also a factor But late on in games up against some Tired legs in Midfield and with some Tired legs on his own team Gallagher's Energy could make a real difference both If england are looking to get a goal and To get back into a game and particularly If they're just trying to see a game out One thing that you have to say about This England team is that whoever starts They will have the luxury of real Quality options at least in forward Areas to come off the bench and change a Game at the right moments and that is Something the not a lot of teams have It's something that Gareth Southgate Spoke about in his press conference when Announcing his squad for the World Cup And it is getting those really big Decisions right in terms of who and when To make those changes in games that will Be where Southgate earns his money and Where games are won or lost for England James Madison Marcus rashford Callum Wilson Jack greylish and bakayosaka are All likely to start that opening game Against Iran on the bench amongst many Others and all offer something radically Different were they to be introduced Madison has magic in his boots to decide A game in an instance and open up the Opposition rush for his lightning quick And devastating on the counter-attack And he looks to be really firing at the
Moment Wilson is in tremendous form this Season and will keep both center-backs Constantly occupied grealish is among The most gifted players in this England Squad and is without peer in terms of Progressing the ball into the Opposition's box and Saka has been Electric for Arsenal so far this season Just as he always has been for England I Don't think the Gareth Southgate knows His best starting 11 his best front Three or his best front four depending Upon the system I think that he wants to Get sucker Sterling and foden all into The same team but he knows that he can't Do that certainly not within about five And not against any world-class Opposition England's defense is simply Too weak to play that many offensive Players which is why I still think that It will be Sterling Kane and either Foden or soccer to start if it is a five At the back and Sterling Kane foden Osaka and mounts if it is a So that is what I expect from England in Terms of systems personnel and their Opposition but what about actual results And what would constitute a quote Unquote good tournament for England well My full World Cup predictions video is Still to come on this channel but I do Think that England will get out of their Group even if it is a little bit Tougher Than A lot of people anticipate
Especially if they fail to get an early Goal in those games then they will face Either the winners or the runners-up Depending upon where we finish in our Group from group a which is the weakest Group of the tournament and I would give England a decent chance against any of Those teams even the Netherlands then You are looking at a quarterfinal Supposing that England win that game Against France if england were to win Their group or Argentina if they were Runners-up either of which assuming it Is either of those and there are Obviously lots of variables and outcomes Where it wouldn't be but either way you Are most like looking at an extremely Difficult game where England's opponents Would be the favorites of the Quarter-final stage for that reason I Think that if england reached the Semi-finals again that would be a really Good achievement and obviously anything Beyond that would be spectacular if I Had to put my life on it I'd say that England will probably fall in the Quarterfinals just because they are Likely to meet a really formidable Opponent there who will probably just Have a little bit more quality than them But as I said going into the Euros 18 Months ago I don't get the impression That this England team will Buckle I Think that they will give anyone a good
Game and that to beat them the Opposition will have to turn up and put In a good performance if Germany Brazil Argentina France or Spain play at their Absolute best and reach their full Potential they will probably beat England whatever England do but there is Always a favorite that self-destructs at A tournament and there's always games Where teams aren't quite at the races so Whilst the quarters would be my best Guess I wouldn't write England off Against anyone at this world cup so that Is it for today's video I hope you Enjoyed it hopefully it is as I well no Actually hopefully it isn't accurate at All and England win because you know That'd be nice uh if you did enjoy Today's video hit the like button let me Know your thoughts both on England and Just generally about day-to-day issues Down Below in the comments and make sure That you are subscribed of course and Have notifications turned on for hide Cc7s you can also find me on Twitter or On Instagram via the username at hrtc Sims on both should you wish to do so Cheers