Gareth Southgate’s Three Lions side will be hoping to reach back-to-back finals in major international competitions later this year, and this time go one step better and lift the trophy.
Four years ago, England reached the semi-finals of the 2018 World Cup as the rebound in international fortunes began under Southgate, before reaching the Euro 2020 final. Now, in Qatar, the goal will remain the same, ending the long wait since 1966 for success on the biggest stage.
Three matches in the group stage and then another three knockout matches must be drawn in the final before the trophy is up for grabs on December 18 at the 80,000-capacity Lusail Stadium.
England navigated the qualifiers with ease to reach Qatar, winning eight and drawing two to finish ahead of Poland, Albania, Hungary, Andorra and San Marino. But many of those games were simply opportunities for Southgate and his coaches to put initial plans into motion and get a sense of how they can continue to build the team in pursuit of success this winter.
This is the route England must now take to reach the World Cup final for the first time in over 50 years, and the teams they will face along the way.
Final classification of group B
- England 7 points
- United States 5 points
- Iran 3 points
- Wales 1 point
How England won Group B:
The Group A runners-up are the opponents of the Three Lions, as they themselves topped Group B.
While Ecuador was in pole position for that spot heading into the last game, they lost to Senegal so the African champions will be England’s round of 16 opponents. The Netherlands finished on top, with Qatar on the bottom.
England’s round of 16 match will take place on Sunday, December 4 at 19:00 GMT.
The winner of the tie between the winner of Group D and the runner-up of Group C: France topped their group as expected, ahead of Australia, Tunisia and Denmark in that order, making them the winners of the reigning world champions and one each of Argentina, Saudi Arabia, Poland and Mexico.
If England reaches this stage, the game will be on Saturday, December 10 at 19:00 GMT.
The winners of Group F and Group H could find their way to the semi-finals to face England if they make it that far, meaning a possible semi-final between England and Croatia either Portugal.
On the England side, the semi-final will be at 7pm GMT on Wednesday, December 14.
A final after sailing through the knockout stages as runners-up could eventually see England play. Spain or Brazil in the final, although we have already had many surprises and there could be more to come. The final is on Sunday, December 18 at 15:00 GMT.
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