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England’s Squad for FIFA World Cup 2022 & Team Profile

Gareth Southgate announced the 26-man England squad list for the 2022 FIFA World Cup. In this article, check out the England FIFA World Cup 2022 squad, fixtures, lineups and team analysis.

MB
Last updated: 13.11.2022
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Gareth Southgate announced the 26-man England squad list for the 2022 FIFA World Cup on Thursday, 10th November and many of the fan-favorites made it while there were some striking omissions as well. The Three Lions will try to strike the jackpot in the manager’s third major competition after he led the side to the semi-finals of the 2018 World Cup and into the finals of the European Championship last year. England have not reached the final of the competition since their 1966 triumph at Wembley.

 

World Cup History

The Three Lions have significant history in the World Cup since their entrance to the tournament in 1950 in Brazil when they exited the group stages, only the third time they finished at this point of the tournament with the others being the 1958 edition in Sweden and recently in 2014 hosted by Brazil. England went on to lift the silverware 16 years later in their fourth World Cup in front of huge home support with legendary manager Alf Ramsey leading a team of superstars like Gordon Banks, Jack Charlton, Bobby Moore, Jimmy Greaves, Bobby Charlton, Geoff Hurst, Roger Hunt and several others to glory. Navigating from a group containing previous winners Uruguay, France and Mexico to the quarterfinals where they won a fierce battle against Argentina and then against Portugal in the semi-finals. The Three Lions faced rivals West Germany and went down inside 11 minutes but Geoff Hurst came to the rescue twice scoring a hat trick for an eventual 4-2 victory after extra time. The Germans did take revenge for it eliminating England from the quarterfinal stage four years later before failing to qualify for the tournament itself in 1974 for the first time in their history. After returning to the finals in 1982 hosted by Spain, they have not failed to qualify again. Their best return from the tournament since the 1966 finals were the semi-final place in 1990 and the last edition in 2018. The so-called golden generation of English football created stars like David Beckham, Michael Owen, Steven Gerrard, Frank Lampard, Rio Ferdinand Wayne Rooney, Paul Scholes, John Terry etc. but they failed to either replicate the past achievement in this competition or live up to their standards for one reason or the other.      

  

Previous Tournament

The 2018 FIFA World Cup was the best England managed in this competition at least for 28 years. Gareth Southgate’s first major competition as the Three Lion’s boss saw him use a more pragmatic approach with the next talented group of players possible after the golden generation yet it proved to be effective as it took them to the semi-final stage of the competition. However, one can argue the strategy became their disadvantage at that stage against Croatia losing 2-1 in extra time despite taking the lead through a stunning free-kick from Kieran Trippier in the fifth minute of the game. Ivan Perisic scored the Croat’s equaliser in the 68th minute before Mario Mandzukic hit the winner in the 109th minute to send his nation through to the final. England finished second in their group containing fellow semi-finalists, Belgium, Tunisia and newcomers Panama. They broke their penalty shootout hoodoo in the competition by winning an anxious-filled shootout against Colombia in the round of 16 before having the most comfortable performance and the first clean sheet of the tournament in the 2-0 win over Sweden in the quarterfinals. The Three Lions also lost the third-place spot to Belgium losing 2-0 to the Red Devils again. A disappointing ending to the season worth remembering and something to build on. Harry Kane won the golden boot award in the tournament with six goals two more than any other player in the 2018 World Cup.         


Qualification

England qualified for the 2022 FIFA World Cup with few hitches not losing a single game in their qualifying group and only drawing twice, one of them being against Poland who have qualified for the tournament as well although ending five points above them on top with 26. The Three Lions scored an outstanding 39 goals, more than any other sides in the qualifying and had the joint-best defence letting in only three goals. England also registered the second biggest competitive win of all time in their history by thrashing the lowest-ranked nation in the world, San Marino 10-0 in this qualification. Undoubtedly, Harry Kane scored the most goals with 12 the same as Netherland’s Memphis Depay and three more than Poland’s Robert Lewandowski. Phil Foden racked up four assists for England more than any of his teammates while goalkeepers Jordan Pickford, Nick Pope and Sam Johnstone kept two clean sheets each.


Preparation for the 2022 FIFA World Cup

While the qualification has been smooth sailing, England cannot say the same about their build-up to the FIFA World Cup in Qatar. To be fair to them, the team was put in the Nations League competition right after a hectic club season with tiring players where they failed to win a single game in the tournament after two friendlies in March that they did win against Switzerland and Ivory Coast as the only success so far this year. They began the Nations League campaign with a first loss against Hungary in 60 years followed by dismal draws against Germany and Italy. England then crumbled to a humiliating 4-0 defeat to Hungary once again this time at home, the biggest defeat since 1928, in front of a booing crowd by the final whistle. The last two games in September before the tournament also hit the same tone with a loss to the Euro champions at San Siro and then an entertaining 3-3 draw against Germany. England’s relegation to League B from A was confirmed by then with the preparation for the World Cup in November not at all as ideal as planned.

       

England FIFA World Cup squad

 

Goalkeepers: Jordan Pickford (Everton), Nick Pope (Newcastle United), Aaron Ramsdale (Arsenal)

Defenders: Trent Alexander-Arnold (Liverpool), Conor Coady (Everton), Eric Dier (Tottenham Hotspurs), Harry Maguire (Manchester United), Luke Shaw (Manchester United), John Stones (Manchester City), Kieran Trippier (Newcastle United), Kyle Walker (Manchester City), Ben White (Arsenal)

Midfielders: Jude Bellingham (Borussia Dortmund), Conor Gallagher (Chelsea), Jordan Henderson (Liverpool), Mason Mount (Chelsea), Kalvin Phillips (Manchester City), Declan Rice (West Ham)

Forwards: Phil Foden (Manchester City), Jack Grealish (Manchester City), Harry Kane (Tottenham Hotspurs), James Maddison (Leicester City), Marcus Rashford (Manchester United), Bukayo Saka (Arsenal), Raheem Sterling (Manchester City), Callum Wilson (Newcastle United)

 

Gareth Southgate made some surprising call-ups to the national team not because of doubting the player’s quality but has not been in the books of the manager in the past despite prevailing with their club. None bigger example than James Maddison who was not expected to be in the plane for Qatar even after enjoying a stellar season with Leicester City scoring six goals and delivering four assists in 12 matches for the Foxes and earning only one cap before for his country. He also was not selected for the September games yet fan and media pressure or otherwise has led Southgate to reconsider and put him on the roster for the World Cup. For the same reason, Ben White of Arsenal has also gotten into the squad with his versatility helping the Gunners mount a title challenge in the league. Another one from midfield, Conor Gallagher is a bit of a surprise addition. While he was making England matches before, the 22-year old is not in the same grove during his loan spell at Crystal Palace last season for his parent club Chelsea now although the club is struggling in the Premier League themselves. The counter-argument is that he is certainly a talented player and adds to the depth of the Three Lion’s midfield. Up front, Callum Wilson got the nod over Ivan Toney even though the latter made the squad first time in September and is in equally good scoring form as Wilson in the Premier League. The Newcastle United striker is in great numbers for his club contributing to eight goals in ten matches. Marcus Rashford has fought his way back into contention after not looking to make it to Qatar for a poor run of form last season. Conor Coady has been brought in to play a more leadership role in the team even if he is not the first choice while Southgate has stayed loyal to Harry Maguire, not getting enough game time at Manchester United amid his continuous poor form. The manager also decided to select Kalvin Philipps despite missing a chunk of the season for Manchester City due to shoulder surgery and his teammate Kyle Walker who is still in the state of recovering from a groin issue over Reece James. Southgate responded by saying that Walker will be available for the group stages whereas the Chelsea man will not be available until the latter stages of the competition, a very late situation to consider if everything goes well with his recovery from a knee injury. As a case, Trent Alexander-Arnold also makes the roster even though he has not been the player in Southgate’s plans because of his defensive vulnerabilities. Ben Chilwell missed out through a hamstring injury while Tammy Abraham, Marc Guehi, James Ward-Prowse, Jarrod Bowen, Chris Smalling and Fikayo Tomori were left out.                 

 

Strength

The strength for England in the World cup in Qatar will be if they are able to play to the potential the squad holds. Some of the Premier League’s finest make the roster from the goalkeeping ranks to the forward line with one not in his homeland, Jude Bellingham is one of the top midfielders not only in the Bundesliga but in the world presently. Their depth is also one of the key things assisting them in the tournaments with a lethal striker in Callum Wilson making another smart choice alongside Harry Kane and the midfield also brings a lot of variety with the number of players making the rank. If solidity is the choice which has been the preferable choice for Southgate in his tenure with the national team, Declan Rice and Kalvin Philipps know how to perform the job having done it admirably in the European Championship while Gallagher, Maddison and Bellingham could bring in the creativity from the middle of the park whenever required. Players like Mason Mount and Raheem Sterling have shown that their low club form does not matter when donning the national shirt while the latter lighting up the Euros with four goals contribution in seven matches in the tournament after not such a great club season last year. The core of the team from the last few years has undergone little changes so the squad is pretty consistent and the previous long runs in the competition will give them enough experience to do well in this contest.     

 

Weakness

As usual, the weakness for England will be their manager Gareth Southgate’s lack of tactical incisiveness in making one of the talented squads at the World Cup play a pragmatic style of football. It has certainly moved them deep into competitions although haven’t produced the mentality to get the edge over the opposition at the decisive stage. The defensive discipline has also been lacking in the side recently with a shambolic Nations League campaign where they conceded 10 goals, the 4-0 loss to Hungary in June the highlight of their struggles. That being said, England have not scored much with only four goals netted of which three came in the draw against Germany in the last game of the competition. Apart from Harry Kane, the team is lacking a scoring forward and while Callum Wilson is a strong alternative he has had a fair share of injuries lately. Even without form, a player like Tammy Abraham or a prosperous Ivan toney could have been a third good option to have as Marcus Rashford is utilized at his best on the wings rather than in the middle. Kane himself is tired, admitted by Spurs manager Antonio Conte, as he was a little in the Euros last year so that will be an added concern and pressure on Saka, Sterling, Maddison and Foden to deliver.           

 

Star Player: Harry Kane


There are several individuals in the team to step up and make a difference for England although they still rely upon their club captain to produce wealth in the competition. Kane is suffering from fatigue ahead of the tournament and has often been devoid of service in the recent games for England while also not finding someone to slot the ball into the net when he becomes the creator by dropping down from striker position to be a link man. In the Euros last year, he showed that he can be a beast in his work even not scoring right away and he will do it again this tournament in any circumstances. If England are able to assist him with the other necessary things to help him concentrate solely on goals, Kane could produce some breath-taking numbers in the 2022 World Cup in Qatar. He has proven that in the 2018 edition to score the goals in times of asking be it a late winner or an expert penalty taker. Being more of a team player in recent seasons has not devoid the striker to be one of the best finishers of chances and the Three Lions need that from him considering their style of play will not always produce a cluster of them. As said earlier, the team has to respond to him if they are serious to make a serious display this time around. Kane himself will be hungry to hit the record books by becoming the all-time top scorer for his nation  

        

Opponent & Fixtures

England vs Iran - 21 November 2022, Khalifa International Stadium (6:30 PM)

England vs USA - 26 November 2022, Al Bayt Stadium (00:30 AM)

Wales vs England - 30 November 2022, Ahmed bin Ali Stadium (00:30 AM)

 

The group is a big challenge for England to overcome but the one they are expected to clear and even topping it. Iran will be the first opponent to take in the group on the 21st of November with the Three Lions wishing to get the first win on board of the tournament. The Asian nation will want to make it as hard as possible for them through their stubborn defence making it a game for more individualistic brilliance than teamwork to break the resistance. The next two will decide England’s faith in the group entirely with a historical clash against the USA on 26th November and a British rivalry against Wales three days later. USA can be tricky outfit even with an inexperienced squad whereas Wales are an unpredictable team with their situation in the last group stage to show which side will turn up. Grabbing three points from all three games will be spectacular for England although a minimum of four points could be satisfactory and enough to take them through.     


How will England Lineup at the FIFA World Cup 2022?



There is always discussion on Gareth Southgate’s team selection whether he will stick to the three-man defence the preferred system to go for in the tournament, especially in the knockouts but for that he has to use certain players to the wing-back position. Kieran Trippier and Luke Shaw will be tasked with the role with forwards like Bukayo Saka could also be used there or even Trent Alexander-Arnold for his world-class deliveries. However, it will hinder their true potential in their actual role and also likely open up defensive vulnerabilities. Kalvin Philipps has not played very less this season to be a confirmed starter even though he is the first choice for Southgate to pick alongside Declan Rice or else Jordan Henderson is the man to go with if Jude Bellingham is not high on the pecking order. The front three could consist of Raheem Sterling, Harry Kane and Phil Foden but the Manchester City forward has not been the go-to guy every time so we can Jack Grealish coming in or Mason Mount playing that inside attacking midfielder slash forward role he does at Chelsea and had performed previously with the national team recognisably at the Euros last year. Southgate will rely on Harry Maguire again in back three with John Stones and the third person who could be anyone till Kyle Walker regains fitness. Jordan Pickford remains the undisputed number one for the third consecutive major knockout competition for England.  

 

Stance on Qatar


England have been one of the frontrunners among nation to speak widely about the issues circling the 2022 FIFA World Cup in Qatar. Captain Harry Kane has said he wants to shine a light on the human rights abuses in the host nation during the tournament and he among other players and teams will be wearing the One Love campaign bands in games as a protest of the laws against homosexuality. Gareth Southgate has also said it is a great shame for certain England fans not to be able to travel to the tournament because of the issues threatening them, the rights of women and the rights of the LGBTQ+ community in particular. A meeting between the squad for the matter was also held in March earlier this year. During the squad announcement, the manager also said FIFA’s plea of leaving politics aside and concentrating only on football is highly unlikely and they are clear about the standpoints they have made so far. Fans have also urged to boycott the tournament like many other nations.

     

Prediction 

England’s latest show of results is concerning and leaves questions more than answers about the team’s preparedness for the tournament. They carry one of the most talented squads in the tournament for sure and have the capability to shake away the poor form and hit the first game of the group stages with high spirits. But it is more of an ask than a guaranteed theme that will happen for the side in the tournament. Still, the Three Lions are expected to move out of the first round and rub shoulders with more stern opposition in the knockouts. A quarterfinal or semi-final stage finish will not be catastrophic but certainly a downfall of the parameters set by the squad from the last two campaigns. Southgate’s strategy is not showing the same sustainability as before and with four or five real contenders for the title this time around, the path is certainly a hard one for England to take.

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