Sunday, December 4, 2022

England Can Learn From Euro Heartbreak

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Bernard Ford
A Leicester City fan. Wants respect from the 'London based' media for clubs outside the bubble.

After the disappointment of losing the European Championship final last summer, England will be determined to end the country’s wait for World Cup glory in Qatar this winter.

The Three Lions have made progress in their last two major competitions and Gareth Southgate’s side have the experience required to go all the way at the 2022 World Cup.

A Big Step Taken In Russia

Reaching the semi-finals of the World Cup four years ago in Russia was a major step forward for England. The Three Lions, who are 8/1 in the World Cup betting to win the tournament this time around, were edged out by Croatia in the last four in 2018. Losing to Belgium in the third-place playoff, Southgate’s side had to settle for fourth in the competition. However, it was a sign of things to come that England could put together a positive run of results under the pressure of a World Cup.

Battling their way to second in the group behind Belgium, England then went on to beat Colombia and Sweden in the knockout stages. A 2-1 defeat to Croatia in extra-time was a cruel way to be denied a first place in a World Cup final since 1966 for England.

Further Progress At The Euros

Reaching the final of Euro 2020 was another sign of significant progress for Southgate’s side in the delayed tournament last summer. England gave their supporters some memorable moments, including a 2-0 win over rivals Germany in the round of 16. The Three Lions went on to beat Ukraine and Denmark before an agonising penalty-shootout defeat to Italy in the final at Wembley. In both the 2018 World Cup semi-final and Euro 2020 final, England had taken the lead but ended up on the losing side. Those experiences, while difficult to take at the time and in the months following, might stand England in good stead if they can learn from them going forward.

England are expected to finish top of their group at the World Cup in Qatar, as they face the likes of Iran, USA and Wales in Group B. Southgate has a fairly settled squad ahead of this competition, with most of the players who helped England reach the Euro 2020 final ready for another go at a major trophy. All those players will have known how tough it was to lose to the Italians in that final and it will likely prove as a motivator to succeed in the Middle East this winter.

Kane Can Lead From The Front

Having earned the Golden Boot at the last World Cup in Russia, Tottenham Hotspur striker Harry Kane will be looking to impress in Qatar. The 29-year-old heads into the competition in good form, having scored 12 goals in his first 15 games of the Premier League season. Kane endured a tough start to last season and still went on to have a good European Championship with England. Having made a strong start to this term with Spurs, expectations are even higher on what Kane can achieve in Qatar.

With 75 games for his country under his belt, Kane is only behind Raheem Sterling when it comes to caps in the English World Cup squad. Scoring 51 goals in that time Kane is by far the most prolific goalscorer in the squad, with Sterling in second with 19. There will be pressure on Kane to deliver the goals but this is not anything new for the experienced forward. Kane is closing in on Wayne Rooney as the highest goalscorer for England. Former Manchester United striker Rooney leads the way with 53 goals in his 120 appearances for the Three Lions. Kane will undoubtedly be aware of the record and will have that target firmly in his sights as he faces Iran, the US and Wales in the group stage.

With Kane showing the form to have a strong tournament and England displaying real progress over the last two major competitions, there’s understandable excitement surrounding their chances in Qatar. Southgate and his players know that only bringing the trophy home will be deemed a success.

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