England are all set to go for glory in Qatar.
Gareth Southgate has selected his 26-strong squad for the showpiece tournament, allocated the shirt numbers and the players have now headed for the Middle East.
Leicester City playmaker James Maddison and Newcastle striker Callum Wilson are among the stars picked following their impressive starts to the season.
The duo will be battling to play a part in the Three Lions’ first Group B fixture against Iran, a side they have never faced in a senior competitive international.
England will then take on the United States, who they have met twice in the World Cup finals – in 1950 and 2010 – but never beaten.
Southgate’s side also face a first-ever World Cup ‘Battle of Britain’ against Wales, who will be more fired up than ever and showed at Euro 2016 that spirit, fight – and a fit Gareth Bale – can take you a long way.
Despite a tricky group, England are fancied to sail through.
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How England could line-up in their opener against Iran
Jordan Pickford looks certain to start in goal having never let England down and been between the sticks at their last two major tournaments.
But questions abound over the defence given Harry Maguire’s struggles at Manchester United and with first-choice right-back Reece James out through injury.
Trent Alexander-Arnold will have his backers to start at right-back in James’ absence, but Kieran Trippier has been favoured by Southgate and is set to get the nod if Kyle Walker fails to prove his fitness in time.
Conor Coady has been integral in Everton unexpectedly securing the fourth best defensive record in the Premier League this season and he could come in for Maguire as part of a back three, alongside Eric Dier and John Stones.
As the only recognised left-back in the squad, Luke Shaw is a sure-fire starter. Jude Bellingham is expected to line up alongside Declan Rice in a strong looking central midfield.
The 18-year-old has been a revelation with Borussia Dortmund and he could be the breakout star of this tournament.
In attack, Southgate has an array of options. Mason Mount, Jack Grealish and James Maddison will all harbour hopes of making an impact but all three face a fight to get in the starting XI.
Maddison, 25, last played for England against Montenegro in 2019.
But there are strong calls for him to be put straight into the starting XI, having been the standout English playmaker in the Premier League in 2022 with 27 goal contributions this year.
That seems unlikely though with Southgate likely to favour those who have not been tried and trusted in an England shirt.
Raheem Sterling will be nervous about his place given his poor form for Chelsea and that could open the door for Phil Foden to start with Bukayo Saka in the wide positions.
Harry Kane will be the main striker as he chases history in Qatar.
The Tottenham striker can become the first player in World Cup history to win back-to-back Golden Boots while he is just two goals away from equalling Wayne Rooney’s all-time scoring record for England.
England’s home for the World Cup
The five star Souq Al-Wakra hotel is where the Three Lions will call home for their entire stay in the tournament.
England will travel to Qatar on Tuesday and head straight for their base.
The hotel they are staying at is based in Al-Wakra – a fishing village 10 miles outside the capital of Doha.
It provides a beach for all players and staff as well as a range of restaurants on-site, while a swimming pool has recently been added.
In addition, the hotel includes a spa which will be ideal for the squad to receive treatment after training and matchdays.
Its location will have played a big part in its selection with the eight stadiums being used for the World Cup all within a short distance.
However, an unexpected boost will be that being outside of Qatar’s capital will also mean that the Three Lions can relax and stay away from the busy areas in between games.
England’s World Cup fixtures
If England do indeed get through Group B, the Three Lions would face one of hosts Qatar, Netherlands, Ecuador or Senegal in the last 16.
Potential showdowns with the likes of France in the quarter-finals await, with one of Germany, Brazil or Argentina also standing in England’s way to lift the trophy.
- England vs Iran: Monday, November 21 at 1pm UK time (4pm local time)
- England vs USA: Friday, November 25 at 7pm UK time (10pm local time)
- Wales vs England: Tuesday, November 29 at 7pm UK time (10pm local time)
If England finish 1st:
- Round of 16 (potentially Ecuador or Senegal): Sunday, December 4 at 7pm UK time (10pm local time)
- Quarter-final (potentially France or Argentina): Saturday, December 10 at 7pm UK time (10pm local time)
- Semi-final (potentially Belgium, Germany, Portugal or Spain): Wednesday, December 14 at 7pm UK time (10pm local time)
If England finish 2nd:
- Round of 16 (potentially Netherlands): Saturday, December 3 at 3pm UK time (6pm local time)
- Quarter-final (potentially Argentina or Denmark): Friday, December 9 at 7pm UK time (10pm local time)
- Semi-final (potentially Spain, Canada or Croatia): Tuesday, December 13 at 7pm UK time (10pm local time)
- 3rd place play off: Saturday, December 17 at 3pm UK time (6pm local time)
- Final: Sunday, December 18 at 3pm UK time (6pm local time)
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