The England Route To Final Of The 2022 World Cup

Photo Credit: AP

Are you thinking about a possible England route to Final glory at the 2022 World Cup? Is one side of the draw better than the other for them to be in? Would could the Three Lions bump into along the way?

Conjectures and banter are all part of a fan’s experience in the build-up to a FIFA World Cup. As are dreams and expectations. As are the hopes of punters who have made calls on the outright winner of the tournament.

We are going to tap into some of that anticipation here, by looking ahead with optimism to the tournament. We try to plot a chart through the competitive waters for England to reach the World Cup Final.

Both routes are explored, namely if England finish 1st in Group B or 2nd.

Reasons To Be Optimistic

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England supporters celebrate after Chloe Kelly scored their second goal as they gather in the fan zone in Trafalgar Square to watch on a big screen the final of the Women’s Euro 2022 soccer match between England and Germany being played at Wembley stadium in London, Sunday, July 31, 2022. (AP Photo/Frank Augstein)

England fans will still have high hopes of the Three Lions delivering the goods when they go to Qatar 2022. That’s despite some miserable form in the 2022 UEFA Nations League. Recent results from England fixtures haven’t gone well. But a flurry of goals in a 3-3 draw with old rivals Germany in their final match before the World Cup, will have lifted English spirits.

As they have proven in the last two international tournaments, the Three Lions can (almost) find a way. They have Premier League hotshot Harry Kane, whose presence up front will give them a chance. The recent success of the Lionesses at the European Championships served up a huge platter of inspiration too.

It can be argued that England benefited from a favourable draw at both the 2018 World Cup and the 2020 European Championships. But matches still have to be won on the day. The Three Lions will inevitably run into a tough opponent at some point.

Here’s what could be waiting for them:

England Route To Final Of World Cup 2022

The line-up of England fixtures in the group stage of the contest should see Gareth Southgate’s men qualify for the knockout stages. With the 2022 World Cup rapidly approaching, it’s time to knuckle down and settle into something comfortingly familiar.

That is plotting a chart through the tournament for the Three Lions. The plausible assumption is that they will at least make it to the Round of 16. From there, it is all down to the luck of the draw.

England Fixtures – Group Stage

The England route to the 2022 World Cup Final, which is on December 18th, starts with the group stage. In the opening round of action England will face Iran, the United States and Wales. Because of that favourable draw (on paper at least) England have been priced up as the red-hot odds-on favourites to top the section.

Let’s look at the England fixtures in the Group Stage, as the Three Lions strive to claim the top spot.

England vs Iran – November 21st, 2022

England were due to get straight into business on the opening day of the tournament. But the fixture between hosts Qatar and Ecuador was moved to November 20th, to continue the tradition of tournament hosts playing in the curtain-raiser.

So on the second day of the 2022 World Cup, we will see England vs Iran. That will bring the two nations together for the first time ever in a competitive international match. Gareth Southgate’s men should have enough to put three points on the board in that fixture against a team who are 23rd in the FIFA World Rankings.

England vs USA – 25th November 2022

A positive start against Iran will take some pressure off England before they face the USA in their second group stage match. England have met the USA twice before in World Cup action and failed to beat them on either occasion, most recently in 2010.

England last met the USA in November 2018 in a home international friendly. England cruised to a 3-0 success. Since a 2-0 loss to the US in a 1993 friendly, England are W4 D1 in five against them.

It’s also important for England here to try and push to make it six points from six in their opening two matches. Their final game against Wales is going to be the toughest of the lot. The Three Lions will want to have one hand on the top spot in the group before it.

England vs Wales – 29th November 2022

This is the highlight of the group. It will be the first World Cup meeting between England and Wales. They did clash in the group stage of Euro 2016 with a late goal from Daniel Sturridge giving England a very hard-earned 2-1 victory.

England have won their last six matches against Wales and their unbeaten stretch against them goes back a lot further than that. The most recent meeting between the neighbours was a 2020 friendly. The Three Lions won the match 3-0.

The man that they wiil have to watch again is Gareth Bale, who netted against them at Euro 2016. Since ending his La Liga days with Real Madrid, Bale has been playing in the MLS with Los Angeles FC to stay sharp for the World Cup.

The Group Stage Set Up

England are in Group B of the 2022 World Cup. That means if they qualify for the Round of 16 then they will face someone from Group A. The Netherlands, Ecuador, Senegal and host nation Qatar are in Group A.

World Cup 2022 Group Stage

Group A: Qatar, Ecuador, Senegal, Netherlands
Group B: England, Iran, USA, Wales
Group C: Argentina, Saudi Arabia, Mexico, Poland
Group D: France, Australia, Denmark, Tunisia
Group E: Spain, Costa Rica, Germany, Japan
Group F: Belgium, Ghana, Morocco, Croatia
Group G: Brazil, Serbia, Switzerland, Cameroon
Group H: Portugal, Canada, Uruguay, South Korea

England Route To Final – Round of 16

If England finish 1st in Group B: England will most likely face Senegal or the Netherlands if they win Group B. Out of those two it is more likely the African nation who will finish runners-up in Group A. That’s because the Netherlands are in tremendous form at the moment and are favourites to win Group A.

It will be a December 4th kick off in football fixtures for England in the Round of 16 if they win the group. England have not met Senegal before, but their record against African Nations in World Cup clashes is good at W4 D3 L0.

If England finish 2nd in Group B: Should England miss the boat and have a repeat of their dreadful 2010 World Cup campaign where they finished second in the group stage to the United States (and let’s not get into their failure to even make it out of the 2014 World Cup group stage), that could leave them facing a big hurdle in the Round of 16. That hurdle is The Netherlands.

The Dutch easily beat England 3-1 in a 2019 UEFA Nations League semi-final clash. The Netherlands have won three of the last four meetings between the two nations. England have taken just one victory in their last nine against the Oranje.

England Route To Final – Quarter Finals

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Lionel Messi celebra tras anotar un gol para Argentina en el partido amistoso ante Jamaica, el martes 27 de septiembre de 2022, en Harrison, Nueva Jersey. (AP Foto/Eduardo Muñoz Alvarez)

As Group Winners: Having likely moved past Senegal in the Round of 16, England could meet reigning World Champions France. That would be the outcome if the French win their group and then avoid a slip in the Round of 16.

France with the likes of Antoine Greizman and Ligue 1 superstar Kylian Mbappe, could bump into Argentina at that stage. That is if one won their group and the other didn’t. England would play a Round of 16 World Cup match on December 10th.

As Group Runners-Up: If England don’t get through their initial section as group winners, but make it past The Netherlands, it could be Argentina or Denmark that awaits them in the Quarter Finals. That will be a match played on December 9th.

England eliminated Denmark on their way to the Final of the 2020 European Championships and will fancy their chances there.

Any match against Argentina is going to stir up a big international rivalry. That Maradona ‘Hand Of God’ goal against them in the quarter-finals of the 1986 World Cup, still stings England fans. Seeing the England defence try and contain Lionel Messi will put nerves on edge.

England Route To Final – Semi Finals

England’s last World Cup bid ended in the semi-finals. Four years ago in Russia, Gareth Southgate’s men took an early lead against Croatia in the semis. Kieran Trippier gave the Three Lions the perfect start in the 5th minute.

But England never pressed home their advantage during the match, instead sitting back and inviting Croatia to get at them. England lost 2-1 in extra time and blew a golden chance of making just their second-ever World Cup Final.

As Group Winners: Should England crack the final four again at the World Cup, they could potentially face Belgium or Portugal. Those are the projected winners from Group F and Group H respectively. Neither of those would be an easy opponent for England to face on December 14th, but not an insurmountable task either.

As Group Runners-Up: If England were to get this far having finished as group runners-up, things could be immensely difficult. It would likely be an all-European clash against either Spain or Germany, or potentially the 2022 World Cup favourites Brazil.

England World Cup Final

As Group Winners: If things sort of play out in terms of ranking and expectancy, who could England likely face in the World Cup Final? Four-time World Cup winners Brazil most likely. If not the Selecao, then other former winners in the shape of Spain or Germany. It’s basically the semi-final set up England would likely face if they finished as runners-up in their group, just delayed a round.

As Group Runners-Up: If England could defy the odds as group runners-up and make it through to the World Cup Final, it could be France, Belgium or Portugal waiting for them on December 18th.

England Group Winners Most Likely Route

Round of 16: Senegal (or the Netherlands)
Quarter Finals: France (or Denmark)
Semi Finals: Belgium (or Portugal)
Final: Brazil (or Spain/Germany)

England Group Runners-Up Most Likely Route

Round of 16: Netherlands (or Senegal)
Quarter Finals: Argentina (or Denmark)
Semi Finals: Brazil (or Spain/Germany)
Final: France (or Belgium/Portugal)

In Summary

So there it is, an idea of what England may have to go through to reach the World Cup Final 2022. No doubt there is going to be highs and lows as they work through the event.

Realistically England are not going to play great in every match they step onto the pitch for. But they are in it. They got further that most would have expected four years ago. Can they take it at least one step further this year?