Only the fans of the Argentine national team can be compared with the fans of the England team. Wherever his public plays are, he is accompanied by a large and noisy flock. Usually to see them lose. This has been the case since 1966 when they won the World Cup on home soil. Almost always responding below expectations, England arrive in Qatar with an enthusiastic and tight-knit squad. The good work of coach Gareth Southgate, who has been in charge of the “premier” since 2016 and has been with the Etihad since 2013, cannot be denied, although it has been discussed recently. Under his leadership, England reached the semi-finals of the World Cup in Russia, where it lost to Croatia, and was runner-up in the last European Nations Cup, losing at Wembley to Italy.
If Southgate rules on the bench, the undisputed leader on the pitch is Harry Kane, captain and top scorer at Russia 2018. Of course, both are accompanied by a black legend. The coach missed an important penalty kick in the Euro 1996 semi-final when he was a footballer and luck was out of his way again last year in the last penalty shootout, and now as a coach. Meanwhile, the Tottenham striker is still looking for the first title in his already extended professional career. His goals do not translate into awards. England have just been demoted into the Nations League but are already focusing on Qatar with promising youngsters like Mount (Chelsea), Foden (Manchester City) or Bellingham (Borussia Dortmund) and more experienced footballers like Kane himself or Sterling (now at Chelsea).
Thus, the Southgate team is enduring historical pressure but is willing to cash in on solid, hard-cooked work from the lower classes. There shouldn’t be much difficulty at first to enter the round of 16but it is caught in a set of obvious geopolitical ties and has important links with England, as does the United States, and above all, neighboring Wales led by the ineffable Gareth Bale, who arguably spent years preparing almost exclusively to show off his choice.
Iran – USA and Wales – England conclude the group stage
The Welshman is invited to fight for second place with the Americans, who will return to the World Cup after losing in Russia, although Iran should not be excluded. Motivation will not diminish, under the orders of veteran Carlos Queiroz. The meeting between Iran and the United States on Qatari soil, scheduled for Tuesday, November 29, will have a particularly satisfactory situation and enormous implications on the international political arena.
There is a World Cup precedent between the two teams. It was in the World Cup France 98, and Iran got the victory (1-2). The derby between England and Wales will also be precious, which will take place on the same day and at the same time as Iran and the United States. These are the two matches that will close out the group. It will be a great ending.