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In The Mixer: Experts’ insights into England’s World Cup hopes
Gareth Freeman
Gareth Freeman
September 20, 2022
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Sports Journalist at FST, Gareth qualified as a journalist after graduating from university and spent over a decade as a freelance broadcast journalist, commentator and tipster before joining FST. Now living in Manchester, he is a long suffering Bolton Wanderers fan who also enjoys boxing, the NBA, tennis and rugby league.

In The Mixer is FST’s weekly column where we catch up with eight experts in football betting and get their opinion on the hot topic of the week.

The first ever winter World Cup is just around the corner and England head to Qatar looking to go one better after falling short in the final of the delayed Euro 2020 at the hands of Italy.

We’ve rounded up our team of experts for their predictions on how the Three Lions will fare at World Cup 2022 and this is a question that split the room.


Another semi-final showing from Southgate’s men?

Aaron Rogan

Sports journalist at FST

It’s hard to gauge where England are off some internationals which no one wanted to play back in June. Potential quarter-final opponents France also failed to win any of their four games over the summer – losing at home to Denmark and Croatia.

England have looked more comfortable at their last two tournaments and I don’t think they should be written off. France appear the biggest threat in their side of the draw, but the defending champions only made it past the last eight twice since 1998.

England have made it to at least the last four of their last two tournaments, so I’m backing them for a semi-final exit in Qatar.


Quarter-finals a popular choice

Mark Langdon

Head of sport content at Spotlight Sports Group

I’d go for England to exit at the quarter-final stage which is when, if the draw goes according to plan, they would face France.

There are too many question marks over the team, particularly at centre-back and left-back, to fancy the Three Lions to repeat their run to the final of Euro 2020 which was aided by a nice path as well as home advantage.

England should win the group despite Gareth Southgate’s negative approach without too many issues but if Senegal or Netherlands finish second in Group A it won’t be an easy last-16 tie and France in the quarters would be the toughest draw of the lot.

Joe Casey

Sports journalist at Racing Post

England reached their first major men’s final since 1966 at last year’s Euros but they were the beneficiaries of a kind draw and home support likely spurred them on.

Gareth Southgate’s men will have neither to fall back on here with a group that is trickier than it looks on paper and a likely quarter-final meeting with France.

Although Les Bleus can implode at any time at a major tournament, if Didier Deschamps is able to keep a lid on the group dynamics that often derail them, they have remarkable squad depth and in the shape of Kylian Mbappe one of the best players in the world.

France could punish the Three Lions’ defence, where they look weakest, and condemn them to a quarter-final defeat.

Aaron Ashley

Sports journalist at Racing Post

I find it truly baffling that England are currently 11-2 second favourites for World Cup glory and although easing to group-stage success will see the home hopes lifted, I expect the Three Lions to crash out at the quarter-final stage.

France look like the most likely opponents in the last eight and Les Bleus would have a class edge in virtually every position.

Just like at Euro 2020, the draw has been kind to England but this time there’s no home advantage and there is concern regarding the current form of some of their most influential players from two years ago.

Gareth Southgate has big decisions to make in defence with Harry Maguire and Luke Shaw currently unable to break their way into Manchester United’s backline while Kalvin Phillips, who also started in that final, can’t get game time for Manchester City.

If England fail to beat Italy or Germany in this set of Nations League fixtures then they’d head to the World Cup without a win in six, a run featuring two defeats to Hungry, which is far from the ideal preparation.

Jack Ogalbe

Sports journalist at ICS

England have largely been a quarter-finals team during my lifetime and that feels about right.

The last two tournaments have got my hopes up and their draw for Qatar looks reasonable, right up until they reach the last eight when they look set to face France.

I’m still not convinced by Les Bleus but their talent pool is ridiculous, while England have major weaknesses, notably in defence where the majority of those who shone in 2018 and 2021 have either lost form or dropped off the international scene.

I feel I’m in the minority when I say Southgate is right to adopt a negative approach due to his team’s defensive deficiencies but France’s attacking prowess might make him open up.

A blockbuster quarter-final beckons but I fear it will be heartache for the Three Lions.


The experts expecting England  to struggle

Gareth Freeman

Sports journalist at FST

I’ve got a horrible feeling that this is going to be an awful World Cup campaign for England and it wouldn’t surprise me if they were eliminated in the group stages, but they should be able to finish ahead of two from Wales, Iran and USA so I expect them to fall short in the last 16.

The Three Lions have been pretty poor since the turn of the year and worryingly some of their star men just aren’t performing at club level right now either. Gareth Southgate seems to be running out of ideas and adopts a negative approach anyway, and I think his luck will run out in Qatar after two good tournaments.

If England do struggle through the groups and come in second spot then the Netherlands would be their last 16 opponents and I would expect the Dutch to come out on top there. On the plus side, there are games against Italy and Germany beforehand so hopefully England can change my mind in the next few weeks.

Liam Flin

Sports journalist at Racing Post

Although I don’t think Group B will be the foregone conclusion many expect it to be, England should make the knockout stages of the Qatar World Cup and I think the last 16 is where their journey will end.

At the 2018 World Cup, a lack of expectation and a favourable run helped England to the last four, while at Euro 2020 home advantage played a key part.

This time around they will be playing on a different continent and they cannot rest on their laurels in any of their three group matches against a defensively disciplined Iran team and USA and Wales sides who will raise their game against the Three Lions.

Gareth Southgate still looks desperately unsure of his best starting combination and I feel the Netherlands or Senegal – their most likely last-16 opponents – could spring a surprise in the knockouts.

Tom McGarry

Sports journalist at ICS

England have reached at least the semi-finals of the last two major men’s international tournaments, but their performances in the Nations League over the summer suggest that a repeat showing is unlikely.

While getting out of a group that also contains Wales, Iran and the United States shouldn’t be a problem, a potential showdown with the Netherlands or Senegal in the last 16 looks daunting.

The Three Lions have quality within their squad, but it feels like they may have missed the boat when it comes to winning a major men’s tournament and a relatively early exit could well be on the cards for Southgate and co.


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