Since that famous World Cup victory in 1966, England fans have been waiting anxiously for the team to go all the way a second time and bring home the trophy. Could England be crowned champions at the 2018 FIFA World Cup in Russia?
Joshua Gurling-Wood, 17, from Tilbury certainly thinks so. Read on for Josh’s thoughts on England’s chances.
“Heart break, pride and tears”
I believe, like many others do across our nation, that the infamous World Cup is coming home to our country with pride from our Three Lions! Many other countries in this heartbreaking tournament are failing to produce what is typically known from their nation’s players, which no one would have seen coming at all.
In England’s first game against Tunisia, players who you would never think of coming up for the England squad, like Loftus-Cheek, have made promising contributions. Then you see a legend like Lionel Messi messing up a penalty for Argentina and the 5/5 star skilled Neymar Jr failing to score and Brazil drawing against Switzerland. Heart break, pride and tears all come from watching this game that we love and it’s clear already that anything can happen in this World Cup.
Going into this tournament, us England fans always change our mood on the team as the World Cup approaches and progresses. We get hopeful and change the way we see players who sometimes don’t even start for the club they play for, like Rashford or sometimes even Jon Stones.
Before in the Euros of 2016, we were highly optimistic about us going far, but then the cunning country of Iceland (of which 99.8% were watching) knock us out. Even Wales got further than us! In all fairness, I do also support Wales, but let’s not lie, they do not have the most all-rounded team in the world, but the point is still valid of us getting our hopes up too early.
Now the World Cup has finally started up and everyone, I am excited to see our favorite players in their prime form for one of the biggest competitions in the world. The first game was Russia against Saudi Arabia and no one expected much from this first game. Everyone was wrong! 5-0 to Russia kicked off this competition and no one expected it (except Russia maybe).
Fast forward to the first game for England on 18 June 2018 and our first half had changed the whole perspective of us. We couldn’t believe our eyes: “England was playing the best football I have ever seen!” It ended 1-1 at half time with Harry Kane scoring the first goal and his first World Cup goal, but then Kyle Walker conceded a penalty, which F. Sassi scored.
The second half kicked off and ALL England fans were fuming after seeing the same player rugby tackle Harry Kane inside the box for two corners. This was interesting because the VAR (video assistant referee) should have picked up on that and given a penalty to England, which would have settled our nerves for the rest of the match. Thankfully, though (and the rest of our fans will agree with me here), our saviour Harry Kane was in the right place at the right time during added time and our boy wonder scored the winning goal.
“Get through the group stage, then I am confident we will win the World Cup!”
This was the best football England has played in ages and, from everything I’ve heard, pretty much everyone agrees. Gareth Southgate shows he has faith and passion in his squad and it’s paying off with most of our players carrying on their club form for the national team.
Personally I think we should put Sterling and Lingard on the bench till the second half and have Rashford and Loftus-Cheek start as they had a very good impact when coming on.
Whoever starts the next two games, if we keep playing like this against the other teams and easily get through the group stage, then I am confident we will win the World Cup!
This is the strongest statement out there, but if most of the big nations keep struggling in this tournament, we should have a straight shot to winning the World Cup. It’ll be no picnic but I think we will get through, even if Kane has to save us again. If Harry Kane wasn’t in the squad (and this is a fairly contentious statement, but this is coming from a Manchester United fan), then we would be going home after the group stage. We do have a very good squad, but we are not consistent enough in front of goal sometimes. We rely on one of the top goal scorers in the Premier League to just be in the right position, but we need the rest to perform as if it’s the final in all the matches. Gareth Southgate is so confident in our team that he said, “Good teams score late goals”, which in our case is very good because a confident manager leads to success.
So far it looks like Belgium is going to go through with England, but from looking at predictions I think we can catch Belgium off guard. Typically both England and Belgium start with 3 at the back, but Belgium’s defenders are usually slow, which makes them vulnerable to the pace and intricate passing of England’s young lions. Expectations are low against Belgium, but we will put up a fight, even if it has to be in some dodgy way with a little rebound tap in because so far England have been lucky but also skilled at the same time.
I’m thinking that England against Belgium will be 2-1 to England with goals from Harry Kane and Dele Alli, while Panama against England will be an easy 2-0 to England with Lingard finally scoring and Rashford starting and getting a goal. Predicting the final 32 is difficult because, like everyone knows, anything could happen in this tournament, especially with how the VAR system has featured so much, but we will be there, ready to charge at the first team that throws anything at us.
Now its early days to call who will win this competition for real and it could change at any point, but from seeing our nation’s team play in that style and with that passion with a smile on their face, like from cheeky Sterling, we have a magnificent chance of winning this Cup. If we get knocked out, then all of us will end up hating our team again… but of course won’t happen because we will be crowned World Champions. Now let’s bring that trophy back to the home of football!