England head into Qatar with a World Cup semi-final and a European Cup final under their belt in the last 4 years, but it could be a tough start for the Three Lions, with a lot of potential banana skins in the group stages. Group B is the only group to contain all four teams inside the FIFA Top 20 Rankings, and England will have to put in some star performances to escape.
Group B consists of England, Wales, USA and Iran. England are heavily tipped to top the group, due to the high quality in their squad. England have goal-machine Harry Kane as their frontman, who has been on fine form for Spurs and is looking to continue that in Qatar. The England captain won the Golden Boot in the Russia World Cup 2018, and he will have his eyes on that prize again. England’s attacking talent doesn’t stop there, with Bukayo Saka, Phil Foden, Raheem Sterling, Jack Grealish and Marcus Rashford all in contention to start alongside Kane in the front 3. In every position, England are blessed with ability, so they are huge favourites to top the group, however recent results in Nations League suggest otherwise. The Three Lions head into Qatar with no wins in their last 6 games, 3 of which being losses.
Wales enter their first World Cup since 1958 and will be looking to make this campaign a memorable one. The rivalry with England will spark fireworks and Wales can come away from that game with points if they defend well and attack efficiently. World beater Gareth Bale is entering his first – and last – World Cup, and he is the king of clutch moments. We’ve seen how Bale can get teams out of trouble, scoring one of the best Champions League final goals in history, and even a couple of weeks back for Los Angeles in America. Every team should fear Bale, and he will be a vital figure in the Wales squad in Qatar. Wales will be focusing on the knockouts, as Iran and the USA are beatable teams if they perform well with the some of the Premier League players in their squad.
The USA head into this World Cup with a wealth of new and upcoming talent. Antonee Robinson, Sergino Dest, Tyler Adams, Weston McKennie, Brenden Aaronson, Giovanni Reyna, and Christian Pulisic show that they have brilliance in every department. On paper, the USA don’t have a stronger team than England, but they will have the determination to match them. According to Fozcast, the day that they play England is the day after thanksgiving, which is like a festival of sport in America. This was until the USA cancelled all basketball, American football, and other events so that everyone can watch the USA v England on TV. This is anticipated to break viewership records in The States, and there will be almighty pressure on England. Let’s hope that England don’t still have World Cup 2010 still in recent memory.
Finally, to finish the group, is a very underrated Iran side. They are 20th in the FIFA World Rankings, making Group B to have all their countries inside the FIFA Top 20. They are expected to be the weakest team, but we could be sleeping on Iran. They head into this World Cup conceding just 2 goals from their last 5 games and have one of Europe’s most inform attackers right now. 6’2” frontman Medhi Taremi will be looking to continue the sparkling performances he’s had in a Porto shirt this term, netting 5 times himself and setting up his teammates on 6 other occasions in 13 games. England, Wales and the USA would be silly to not take Taremi seriously. Iran aren’t strangers to causing upsets in World Cups either, in Russia 2018 they drew with Portugal, beat Morocco and were only 1 point off getting into the knockouts, despite being in a group with Spain and Portugal.
Overall, England are in for a high-pressure World Cup, and you can see that there are a lot of dangers in the group. That being said, they should be able to overcome these challenges to top the group and England could have one of the best squads yet. The big question is, Harry Kane heads into this World Cup with no injuries and with the captain’s armband for a 3rd successive major tournament, can he bring it home?