In this piece we take a look at the possible route England will have to take to get to the World Cup Final.
England’s Route To The World Cup Final
We know the group stage draw for England, but who would they play if the got all the way to the World Cup final?
This piece will answer that very question as Gareth Southgate and his squad look to win the World Cup for the first time since 1966.
Obviously, there is a fair amount of guess work and assumptions made here with the big teams expected to top their groups, but with England we have looked at who they would face if they topped the group or came second in Group G.
Related: England World Cup Guide
That final group game could have a drastic effect on who England play in the knockout stages provided they get through, because whoever tops the group will avoid Germany in the quarter-finals.
Related: Full list of World Cup Fixtures
If England Win The Group
England went out of the group stages four years ago in 2014, but if they top the group in 2018 they will have an easier draw than if they qualify second.
This is a close call between Poland and Colombia here. Poland are favourites to top Group H, but we think Colombia will nudge them out, meaning England’s opponents in the last 16 would be Robert Lewandowski‘s team.
Next up would probably be Brazil. They are heavy favourites to top Group E which includes Switzerland, Costa Rica, and Serbia. They would also be favourites to beat their round of 16 opponents Mexico, after Germany probably winning that group.
The final could include any one of the three teams above. The smart money is on Germany as they have a strong squad and a large portion of the side has won the tournament already. The side England are most capable of beating are Argentina though, as their defence is suspect.
If England Come Second In The Group
Belgium are favourites to top the group, so if England come second, the route to the final is arguably more challenging.
As mentioned above, this could be either Poland or Colombia in this slot, but we think Colombia will top the group instead of Poland. That means England would play Colombia in the round of 16.
If England come second, they will probably face the favourites Germany in the quarter-finals. Germany are expected to win their group and then beat Serbia, Switzerland or Costa Rica in the round of 16 which would set up a grudge match with England. The last time these two sides would have met was in the 2010 World Cup, a match famous for Frank Lampard’s goal that wasn’t a goal.
If England somehow pull off a shock victory against Germany, then either Argentina or Spain will be awaiting them in the semis. Both sides are expected to top their group, and then win their round of 16 matches against Denmark and Egypt respectively. They will face each other in the quarter-finals so whoever wins that will be England’s opponents. Who do you think England will face? Lionel Messi and Argentina? Or Isco and Spain?
On the other side of the draw, Brazil and France are the two strongest teams and it is a toss up as to who would win in a semi-final between the two. England would probably want to play either team as Brazil’s defence is suspect, and France’s squad is full of young players who may struggle on the world stage.
So there you have it. England’s route to the final is easier if they top the group so their match against Belgium on the 28th of June could be vital to their chances of winning the tournament. How far do you think they will go?
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