England is easily the most underperforming side of the World cup. Their golden generation in 2006 lost to Portugal on penalties and they lost 4-1 in the quarter-final in 2010 to a strong German squad. They are clearly not the favourites this time but they do have some excellent players who can shock any time on their day with Spurs star Harry Kane being their main man.

England has a balanced attack mixing pace with precision as Harry Kane will start with Raheem Sterling and Jamie Vardy along with Marcus Rashford providing backup options. Tottenham duo of Eric Dier and Dele Alli will start in midfield along with Man United’s Jesse Lingard with Ruben Loftus-cheek being the backup option. Dier’s solid defensive play will allow Dele Alli and Lingard to play higher up the pitch. They will play with Five at the back with Kyle Walker, Gary Cahill and John stones expected to start. Everton’s Jordan Pickford is expected to start between the sticks ahead of Jack Butland.

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They are in Group E along with Belgium Tunisia and Panama. England is expected to finish second in the group behind Eden Hazard’s Belgium and face Columbia in the round of 16. Barring their talisman Harry Kane, England lack world-class players in all the departments. They will find it difficult to challenge favourite teams like Spain, Germany and France who have so much depth and quality in their squad.

23-man final squad

Goalkeepers: Jack Butland (Stoke), Jordan Pickford (Everton), Nick Pope (Burnley).

Defenders: Trent Alexander-Arnold (Liverpool), Gary Cahill (Chelsea), Fabian Delph (Manchester City), Phil Jones (Manchester United), Harry Maguire (Leicester), Danny Rose (Tottenham Hotspur), John Stones (Manchester City), Kieran Trippier (Tottenham Hotspur), Kyle Walker (Manchester City), Ashley Young (Manchester United).

Midfielders: Dele Alli (Tottenham Hotspur), Eric Dier (Tottenham Hotspur), Jordan Henderson (Liverpool), Jesse Lingard (Manchester United), Ruben Loftus-Cheek (Chelsea).

Forwards: Harry Kane (Tottenham), Marcus Rashford (Manchester United), Raheem Sterling (Manchester City), Jamie Vardy (Leicester), Danny Welbeck (Arsenal).

Standby: Lewis Cook (Bournemouth), Tom Heaton (Burnley), Adam Lallana (Liverpool), Jake Livermore (West Brom), James Tarkowski (Burnley).

Key Players

Harry Kane, Tottenham Hotspur

Harry Kane has been a revelation over the past three seasons. Initially, many people thought of him as a one-season wonder but he proved everyone wrong by banging in goals for fun and winning the PL golden boot twice. England fans will be hoping that the striker continues his club form and inspire the side to glory.

2018 FIFA World cup, FIFA World cup 2018, England, Russia, Harry Kane
Harry Kane will lead the English attack (PHOTO: AFP)

 

Kane will partner Sterling up top and will be looking to reap benefits of Sterling’s frightening pace. If England wants to have any chance to win the cup, Harry Kane will have to be on fire.

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Dele Alli, Tottenham Hotspur

Another Spurs man will be the key for England in midfield. Alli has been very impressive for spurs in the middle of the pitch with Eric Dier giving him space and freedom to make his deadly runs in the box.

2018 FIFA World cup, FIFA World cup 2018, England, Russia, Dele Alli
Dele Alli and Eric Dier will be the key in midfield (PHOTO: AFP)

 

Dier and Alli will form the midfield core for England as well and English fans will be hoping for a repeat of their Spurs performances.

Kyle Walker, Manchester City

Walker has been sensational for Man city ever since his move from Spurs last season. He also won the PL with city and played a crucial role in stabilizing their shaky defence.

2018 FIFA World cup, FIFA World cup 2018, England, Russia, Kyle Walker
Kyle Walker moved to Man City last season (PHOTO: AFP)

 

Walker will play a slightly different role for England as coach Gareth Southgate prefers to play him as a CB and play Kieran Trippier as the RB. Walker has been quick to adjust in his new role and will be the key for England in defence.

Surprise Package

Jesse Lingard, Manchester United

The 25-year old Man United winger has had a good 17/18 season scoring Eight goals and assisting five. He is expected to start ahead of Liverpool captain Jordan Henderson in the midfield and can make a big impact with his clever runs into the box. Expect him to the surprise package for England.

2018 FIFA World cup, FIFA World cup 2018, England, Russia, Jesse Lingard
Jamie Vardy and Jesse Lingard can be lethal in front of goal (PHOTO: AFP)

 

Fixtures

Monday, June 18: vs Tunisia, 11:30 PM

Sunday, June 24: vs Panama, 5:30 PM

Thursday, June 28: vs Belgium, 11:30 PM

Prediction

Expect them to finish second in the group stage and scrape through the round of 16 against Columbia only to lose against world champions Germany in the quarter-final.