England has high hopes in this year’s World Cup after it had blazed through the early stages of football’s grandest stage. Gareth Southgate had surely solved the puzzle from their disappointing campaign at Rio 2014.
As what we can see with the Three Lions’ performance, it’s easy to say that they’ve got what it takes to make it to the quarter-finals. But will their seemingly lucky streak continue in the long run?
Well, that’s what we doubt, especially that the English squad had been through a lot of inconsistency issues in seasons past. However, Southgate seemed to have fixed all their lapses, based on how they create attacking spaces and manage their midfield lines at crucial moments.
Confidence level boost
And yes, their complete thrashing of Panama boosted their confidence even more. It was a 6-1 annihilation of the Panama squad as John Stone, and Harry Kane scored two and three goals respectively.
It was a huge shocker for them as they’ve been considered as one of the underdogs in the contest.
It was a spectacular show of firepower, thus further strengthening their hopes of breaking out of the knockout stages in style. But then again, the one that comes to play here is consistency. Can they keep up with the higher-caliber teams that they’ll face in the next weeks to come?
Well, that we don’t know. But who knows? Maybe we’ll get to see another shocker, knowing that Harry Kane had been amazing since the start of the contest.
Their complete annihilation of the Panama squad was a deal-breaker for them as it showed the world how enthralling they could be, especially when they're underestimated. This is the same thing that happened to the underdog teams in the previous World Cup.
Who would have known that Germany will steal the limelight from Brazil and win the title? Only a few believed in Die Mannschaft, but still, the unthinkable happened, and they won football's biggest competition.
The same thing could happen with England as they’ve been on peak form ever since the World Cup started.
Southgate is very confident that they can go through the group stage without any hiccups. Well, that’s what they did as they defeated their opponents one after another. First was the Netherlands, whom they defeated by a single goal.
It was a decent start to their campaign. Then came the Italians, whom they barely hung by a thread as the game finished in a 1-1 draw. Some might call it a close call for the Englishmen, but it was still an achievement knowing that they didn’t go full force on it.
Their matchup against Nigeria made up for their slightly slack performance against the Italians as it ended in a 2-1 score. Gary Kahill’s strike during the 7th minute of play was an early sign that they’re up for greater things.
Then the great Harry Kane added another goal in the 39th minute. That solidified his goals and the team’s ambition of getting it right this time around. Another two goals gave the Three Lions a huge confidence boost after leaving the Costa Ricans scoreless.
Tunisia suffered the same blow but managed to score a single goal thanks to Ferjani Sassi. That was rendered useless though as Kane answered back with two goals. However, nothing compares to their game against Panama.
It finished with a 6-1 score, which further solidified their position as one of the strongest teams in the group stage.
The English team had indeed lifted up the hopes of their fellow countrymen, thanks to their seemingly magical display of superior athleticism during their previous two World Cup games.
The Three Lions has improved drastically since their games in the Rio World Cup. This might also be because of their humiliating campaign at Chantilly in France. Losing to the underdog Iceland in the last 16 was no excuse for a title-contending team.
Now that two years have passed, Southgate, together with Kane and the new members of the team, had figured out what went wrong, and in the process, ensured that it wouldn't happen again this time around.
It was a huge flop for manager Roy Hodgson as he failed to keep up with the world’s expectations with the English squad. He had full support from their sponsors, their players were fiery as ever to win the title.
But despite all these, he still was unable to bring out the best from the team. Sam Allardyce took over the team along with the huge responsibility of getting the title or at least making it to the top tier team stage.
Unfortunately, those were all dreamy expectations as he was replaced by Southgate after just managing the team for one game. Since then, the English squad underwent a major revamp. Southgate knew that the youngsters would carry the team even if they lack enough experience.
He also infused a system which focuses on a more aggressive type of play, a strategy which maximizes the firepower that the young squad has. Speed, agility, and wit are the main driving force of England to make a statement in this World Cup.
And these characteristics might just be the ones that will bring them greatness this time around.
It also turns out that Harry Kane is the man Southgate wants and needs. He’s the epitome of the captain that should lead England to World Cup domination. Fortunately, the plans worked out as the Spurs striker had been on full display.
Kane is the current leading scorer in the tournament, and him being the captain of the team did a lot of great things to the underestimated English team. What’s most promising about Kane’s performance is that he manages to keep cool despite the noise of the World Cup in Russia.
They were heavily booed, but he didn’t mind them because he’s fully aware that all the criticisms are part of the game. And it’s up to him whether he’ll be able to stop himself from being distracted.
Forecasting future scenarios
However, England shouldn't feel overconfident because there's still loads of challenges that'll come their way. Their matchup against Belgium is an important one because this will tell whether they can keep up with their consistency.
Romelu Lukaku is one tough guy to beat due to his athletic capabilities and natural physical makeup. Eden Hazard and Kevin de Bruyne are also great in the forward and midfield positions.
It’s a complete package for the Belgian team, which is why England should do everything not to break their streak.
England had a lot of shortcomings when it comes to international games over the past years. This is probably due to a host of numerous factors, including where the players are stationed. Take for example Wayne Rooney who is known to be most comfortable being as a forward.
However, he was used a couple of times in the midfield. This caused trouble as he’s not that used to playing as a support. Good thing Southgate knew this issue as he made sure Kane, along with other star players like Jesse Lingard and Raheem Sterling will be playing where they like best.
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