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FIFA World Cup 2018 team profile: England keen to overcome history of disappointments

England had an unbeaten run in the qualifiers, scoring 18 goals and conceding only three, coach Gareth Southgate knows that tougher challenges await their boys in the FIFA World Cup 2018

football Updated: Jun 12, 2018 16:43 IST
Ankit Kumar Singh
Ankit Kumar Singh
Hindustan Times, Mumbai
England captain Harry Kane will be crucial to his team’s chances in the FIFA World Cup 2018.
England captain Harry Kane will be crucial to his team’s chances in the FIFA World Cup 2018.(AP)

Head coach: Gareth Southgate

World Cup History: Qualified 14 times; best- winner (1966)

Qualifying route: Won eight out of 10 matches to top European qualifying Group F.

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Squad: Goalkeepers: Jordan Pickford, Jack Butland, Nick Pope; Defenders: Trent Alexander-Arnold, Kyle Walker, Kieran Trippier, Danny Rose, Harry Maguire, Phil Jones, John Stones, Gary Cahill; Midfielders: Jordan Henderson, Eric Dier, Dele Alli, Jesse Lingard, Ashley Young, Fabian Delph, Ruben Loftus-Cheek; Forwards: Raheem Sterling, Jamie Vardy, Harry Kane, Marcus Rashford, Danny Welbeck.

Though England had an unbeaten run in the qualifiers, scoring 18 goals and conceding only three, coach Southgate knows that tougher challenges await their boys in the quadrennial event where the team has had a history of disappointments over the years.

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The Three Lions have a right kind of mix of youth and experience this time around with plenty of firepower in midfield to go with some searing pace on the flanks. Players like Harry Kane, Raheem Sterling, Jamie Vardy and Marcus Rashford can run riot on their days. All eyes will also be on 19-year-old Liverpool sensation Trent Alexander-Arnold, who can give the side much-needed control in defense along with Kyle Walker, Kieran Trippier, Danny Rose and Gary Cahill.

The Thee Lions had a forgettable campaign four years ago in Brazil where they couldn’t progress beyond group stage. For the current team, overcoming this psychological scar of the past will be the biggest challenge.

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Three players to watch out for

Harry Kane: For England to go all the way in Russia, Harry Kane has to replicate his performance for Tottenham Hotspur in the Premier League this season. With 30 goals, he was next only to Mohammed Salah on the list of leading goalscorers. He was a star in England’s qualifying campaign too with a total of five goals. He had drawn a blank two years ago in the Euro 2016 and would be therefore looking to prove his credentials at international level this time.

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Raheem Sterling: Sterling has emerged as one of the most potent strikers under the guidance of Pep Guardiola at Manchester City. His ability to cut through opponents’ ranks with his speed will stand England in good stead. He needs to improve his finishing abilities, though.

Jamie Vardy: With 20 goals for Leicester, Vardy was the fourth highest goalscorer in the Premier League this season. With his speed and ability to score goals, he can make difference to the fortune of the side. England would probably use him in short bursts as a substitute to Sterling and Kane.