2018 World Cup: England look solid and reliable, but will there be goals?

The excitement continues to build ahead of the 2018 FIFA World Cup in Russia and as always, high hopes and strong expectations of a nation surround the England camp, despite the national team not having lifted the trophy since 1966. Gareth Southgate has chosen a 23-man squad that raised a few eyebrows when it was named, including several players with less than ten international caps and two who hadn’t debuted when the squad was announced.

Nevertheless, the Three Lions boss has built on strong tactical foundations which served him well throughout World Cup qualification. England were comfortable winners of UEFA Group F, which not only featured classic confrontations with old rivals, Scotland, but also plenty of potential banana skins in the shape of tricky east European sides like Slovakia, Slovenia and Lithuania, plus the eventual whipping boys of the group, Malta.

The Three Lions were quite average in the scoring department, but with the joint-best defensive record in any of the UEFA groups, they were also one of only three European teams to remain unbeaten throughout qualification, with 8 wins and 2 draws from 10 matches. England might not be the most thrilling to watch, but there is an air of reliability to Southgate’s side that will compete at the World Cup this summer.


Image Source: @JesseLingard via Twitter

It’s often said that goals win games, which is very true, but keeping a tight lock on things at the back will be equally important for England. For those keen to wager on World Cup matches featuring the Three Lions, keeping a close eye on the under or over 2.5 goals tips provided by FootballTips will be worthwhile. Southgate’s side can often be difficult to predict in that particular betting market, as their results throughout qualification proved.

During England’s unbeaten run to the World Cup, only 4 of their 10 qualifying matches produced over 2.5 goals, which indicates that the Group G matches in Russia might also be tightly contested encounters. Goals are expected to come against Tunisia and Panama in the opening two group games, but the third and final match against Belgium could be a close call, especially if a draw would serve the needs of both sides, who should qualify for the knockout stages with little fuss.


Image Source: @UEFAEURO via Twitter

Harry Kane will be carrying a hefty weight of expectation as the tip of England’s attacking lance. After scoring 30 Premier League goals last season, plus 7 in the Champions League and 4 in the FA Cup, such form makes him one of the favourites to top the scoring charts at the 2018 World Cup. Boasting a very noteworthy 13 goals in 24 international appearances, Kane certainly has the numbers to suggest he can be relied upon to take his chances at the tournament in Russia.

He will, of course, need plenty of support if England are to enjoy a successful tournament, but amongst the 23 players in Southgate’s squad, only Arsenal man Danny Welbeck has registered more than 10 international goals, with 15 from 38 appearances in the Three Lions shirt. The best of the rest are Jamie Vardy of Leicester City with 7 in 21 appearances, then Manchester United wing-back Ashley Young, with 7 international goals from 34 outings.

Such numbers would suggest that England are unlikely to be one of the highest scoring teams at the World Cup, but so long as there’s enough defensive robustness and overall tactical stability from Southgate’s chosen ones, fans are unlikely to complain too much if the team can still produce victories; even if it’s only by the odd goal or two.

Read More

A look at Chris Wilder’s tactics at Sheffield United

It is perhaps no coincidence that the two in-form English managers were honing their craft in the Championship a year before, they now sit...

The Forgotten story of the Basque in South America

This article is sourced from a string of Twitter posts by Impedimento, translated by the author. Exactly 80 years ago, a French steamer called SS...

Manchester United’s biggest transfer mistake of last summer

Manchester United's disastrous run under Ole Gunnar Solskjaer starting after their famous victory in Paris can be explained due to a multitude of factors....

The tactical flexibility of Ralph Hasenhuttl’s Southampton:

  Hasenhuttl has certain areas of the first team’s play that he wants to improve before the Premier League kicks-off again in August. Having arrived...

Mason Mount: Chelsea’s Golden Boy

When Frank Lampard was appointed, Derby County fans everywhere collectively held their breath in the hope of whom his widely spoken about “contacts” might...

A look at Gian Piero Gasperini’s tactics at Atalanta

After almost 3 years with Gian Piero Gasperini at the helm of Atalanta, they finished 3rd in the Serie A this season, securing European...

How will Manchester City lineup in the 2019/20 season

Pep Guardiola will be looking to repeat on last year’s success and win the Premier League title for a third straight year. The Manchester...

Football Tactics for Beginners

Football Tactics for Beginners:The 4-2-3-1 formation

The most widely used formation in international football at present is the 4-2-3-1 formation and most of the top clubs in Europe have been...

Why does English football not trust Zonal Marking?

After many years of threatening to clamp down on excessive grappling from set-pieces, this season has seen Premier League referees penalise holding and shirt-pulling...

Football Tactics for Beginners: The Makelele Role

Very rarely are football terms named after the footballers themselves, one example is of course the famousCruyff turn,but the most famous of our generation is “The Makelele Role”. ...

Football Tactics for Beginners: Multi-Functional Players

Introduction: In times gone by, multi-functional players may have been viewed less glamorously. No-one would wax lyrical about the right back who was able to...

Football Tactics For Beginners-The Modern Fullback

The modern day full back is a key player in modern football, having to supplement his more traditional defensive duties whilst supporting the attack...

Football Tactics for Beginners:The False 9

Lionel Messi-The World's best false 9 What is The False 9? Pep Guardiola's tenure as Barcelona's head coach has changed the way modern football is being...

The Perfect Defensive System # 1

In this new series called The Perfect Defensive System,we invite you the reader to contribute posts on what you think is the best defensive...

The Diminishing role of the Stopper Center Back in the Premier League

Defending and its place in the modern game has spawned a quagmire of critical debate. Back in 2014, when Gary Neville’s article in the...

Football Tactics For Beginners: The 4-4-2 Formation

The classic 4-4-2 formation might have become obsolete in the modern game,but there remains a certain charm in this basic but effective formation When football...