Just under two months ago the entire country of England was gearing up for the biggest sporting occasion in decades – England vs Italy in the final of Euro 2020. It was expected to serve as the crowning moment for the Three Lions after 55 years of hurt, and 55 years of waiting for a major international tournament win.
Instead, heartbreak ensued on the big stage once again as the Italians pulled off a dramatic penalty shootout win to ensure the wait goes on for Gareth Southgate and his men.
Alas, instead of spending too much time being down in the dumps, it feels as if this is a real opportunity for Southgate and company to build on the progression they’ve made and really go for it in next year’s World Cup.
Qatar, in itself, is a topic that brings about a great deal of controversy due to the human rights abuses that have been alleged – but we’re thinking in terms of England actually going ahead with plans to head over there for the tournament.
They’ve already proven themselves to be amongst the elite of the elite in Europe by reaching the final this past summer, but now, it’s all about dealing with threats from elsewhere, most notably Brazil and Argentina.
The World Cup brings a parade of nations together in solidarity and unity with one end goal for each of the 32 teams taking part – winning the trophy.
There are going to be pessimists out there who believe the time has been and gone for England to enjoy such success, but those folks clearly aren’t paying attention to what Southgate has been able to build in the last five years.
From the way they handle the media to the composure they show on the pitch, it’s almost as if they know they’re going to win a game of football before they even step foot on the pitch.
That sounds a bit cocky and we’re pretty sure the Azzurri would disagree, but such is the nature of the beautiful game. England aren’t going to win everyone over because there’s always an element of dismay or misery in football, but instead of calling for Gareth’s head, we should be looking at performances like the one we saw against Hungary last night and taking real pride in it.
In the midst of a nasty atmosphere England put the tough Hungarians to the sword with a 4-0 win that sent a clear message to the rest of their rivals – they aren’t going anywhere.
Harry Kane, Harry Maguire, Declan Rice, Jordan Pickford, Jack Grealish, Raheem Sterling, the list goes on and on. This squad, and any players who eventually come into it, need to feel confidence as opposed to nerves. They need to recognise their status as favourites and do everything in their power to live up to it.
It’ll be hard, but to answer the question in the title, yes; we do believe England have what it takes to reach the final of the World Cup and potentially even win it.