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Will England breeze through their World Cup group?

England is notorious for being overhyped by their own media heading into major tournaments. That’s already happening ahead of the 2022 World Cup in Qatar with their group having been labeled as easy. 

Here we look at whether or not England will in fact breeze through their group and how are their chances according to the current World Cup odds.

What does England’s World Cup group look like?

England have longed known who two of the teams in their group at Qatar 2022 are. The Three Lions qualified by collecting 26 points from a possible 30 going unbeaten in the process. Some will say ‘it was an easy group’, England will say ‘you can only beat what is in front of you.’

The next most fancied side in Group B is the US. They qualified through CONCACAF where they needed a top three finish in the final phase of the qualifying process. They’d tell you it’s a tougher route to tread than England face with the likes of Mexico, Costa Rica and Canada also involved. Regardless, the US finished third in that pool to book a direct flight to Qatar; no playoff stress was required. 

The other side that has long been known is Iran. They’re the highest ranked side in the AFC pool – Asia. Some might put doubts on who they had to beat to make it to Qatar but they topped a final qualification group, which included South Korea, so they’ve definitely earned their spot at the table. 

Last but not least, England’s fellow British side Wales have joined the party. Now they did have to do it the hard way. They finished behind Belgium – but ahead of the Czech Republic – in their qualification group to put them in the playoff rounds for a place at Qatar 2022. They had to first overcome Austria, which they did, and then faced a tense face-off with much-fancied Ukraine. By hook or by crook, they found their way through that game too. 

So, should England win the group?

Asking the question should England win the group is one thing; the answer is that they should. They’ve got one of the best strikers in world football in Harry Kane flanked by the likes of Raheem Sterling, Jack Grealish and Mason Mount. 

All of those players are proven at the very top level. You can then add in the likes of Trent Alexander-Arnold, who is arguably amongst the best right backs in the world, and Jude Bellingham, one of the most hyped up youngsters in the game. There is quality throughout the team that plays in the best leagues week in, week out. They should be good enough to win every game in this group. 

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There is another question though, which is will England win the group. That’s a very different question because the nations they’re facing will see the England game as their ‘cup final’, which means they’ll perform above their standard levels. You can find examples of how that impacts England in the last few major tournaments; most notably when they were held to a draw by Scotland in the last European Championships. If they slip on any of those banana skins then it will blow the group wide open.

What can England expect from the other teams?

Wales

With Wales being neighbours to England, they’re probably the side England fans – and players – know most about. That does, however, work the other way and because of the rivalry that exists, they are also likely to be the toughest nut to crack. 

Player for player they cannot compete with England in terms of quality with most of their squad coming from outside of the top tiers of European football. That said, they’ll be well organised, hard work to breakdown and in Gareth Bale they have someone that can deliver the goods from out of nowhere.

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Iran

If people know a lot about Wales then Iran are the complete opposite, especially where the average fan is concerned. They’ll be seen as the ‘gimme’ in the group but they impressed at the 2018 World Cup as the collected four points in a group that featured both Spain and Portugal. 

In that tournament they drew with Portugal and lost to Spain courtesy of just the solitary goal. On top of that, with the likes of Sardar Azmoun (Bayer Leverkusen) and Mehdi Taremi (Porto) in attacking areas, they do pose a threat.

USA

Finally, you have the US. To a lot of people the US are dismissed when it comes to association football. That would be a really foolish stance to take heading into this tournament though because whilst they’re unlikely to go deep into the knockout rounds, they’re more than capable of surprising England in a one off game. 

The vast majority of their core ply their trade in Europe’s big five leagues with Chelsea’s Christian Pulisic their star man. With people like Weston McKennie (Juventus), Tyler Adams (RB Leipzig) and Gio Reyna (Dortmund) also in their ranks they will be no pushover. 

In summary, England should win their World Cup group but they can’t afford to take it for granted!

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