Gareth Southgate admits England will have to be ‘close to perfect’ to win the World Cup ahead of the draw for Qatar 2022.
England will learn their opponents for the finals on Friday, with optimism high that the Three Lions can challenge for a first major tournament success since the 1966 World Cup.
England are seeded in Pot One for the draw, alongside the host nation and the other six highest-ranked nations, including Brazil, France and Spain.
Southgate’s side finished as runners-up at Euro 2020 last summer and reached the semi-finals of the World Cup in Russia four years ago, but the England boss has warned his side must be ‘close to perfect’ to end the nation’s wait this winter.
“We have said to the team this week, ‘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,” Southgate said, as per Sky Sports.
“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. That’s what we’ve got to work towards every day we’re together.
“We know we’ve had consistent performances over a three, four-year period and we are one of the teams – I think there are a few – that could win this tournament.”
Southgate believes rival nations will not relish facing England following their recent tournament performances, believing the Three Lions are ‘there to be shot at’ ahead of this winter’s World Cup.
“We’ve definitely got respectability and I think we will be a team other teams wouldn’t look forward to playing. But that’s a double-edged sword though 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.”
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