England World Cup 2022 guide: Key players, injuries, tactics & tournament prediction

Harry Kane will captain England at the World Cup
Harry Kane will captain England at the World Cup / Briony Painter | 90min

After reaching the 2018 World Cup semi-final and the final of the 2020 Euros last summer, England are looking to keep their progression going as they head to Qatar for the World Cup.

Gareth Southgate's man are among the pre-tournament favourites but head into the winter showpiece in woeful form, with the boss even admitting that a poor showing here could spell the end for his time in charge.

Nevertheless, it's Southgate's ability to steer England deep into tournaments that has endeared him to fans in the past and the Three Lions will expect another lengthy run this winter as they look to finally get their hands on a major trophy.

Here's what to expect from England at the 2022 World Cup.

When are England's group games?

  • England vs Iran (November 21, 13:00 GMT)
  • England vs USA (Novermber 25, 19:00 GMT)
  • Wales vs England (November 29, 19:00 GMT)
  • England vs Iran H2H record: Played 0
  • England vs USA H2H record: Played 11, Won 8, Drawn 1, Lost 2
  • England vs Wales H2H record: Played 103, Won 68, Drawn 21, Lost 14

Who is in England's confirmed 26-player squad for the World Cup?

Goalkeepers: Jordan Pickford (Everton), Nick Pope (Newcastle), Aaron Ramsdale (Arsenal)

Defenders: Trent Alexander-Arnold (Liverpool), Conor Coady (Everton), Eric Dier (Tottenham), Harry Maguire (Manchester United), Luke Shaw (Manchester United), John Stones (Manchester City), Kieran Trippier (Newcastle), Kyle Walker (Manchester City), Ben White (Arsenal)

Midfielders: Jude Bellingham (Borussia Dortmund), Conor Gallagher (Chelsea), Jordan Henderson (Liverpool), James Maddison (Leicester), Mason Mount (Chelsea), Kalvin Phillips (Manchester City), Declan Rice (West Ham)

Forwards: Phil Foden (Manchester City), Jack Grealish (Manchester City), Harry Kane (Tottenham), Marcus Rashford (Manchester United), Bukayo Saka (Arsenal), Raheem Sterling (Chelsea), Callum Wilson (Newcastle)

Which England players are missing the World Cup through injury?

Chelsea defender Reece James has failed to recover from a knee injury in time to make the squad, which comes as a major blow for Southgate after he lost another Blues full-back, Ben Chilwell, to a hamstring injury.

Manchester City duo Kyle Walker and Kalvin Phillips have not been firmly ruled out just yet but neither has returned from injury just yet, leaving Southgate with some risky decisions to make.

Who are England's best players?

Harry Kane
Kane will be central to England's hopes / Visionhaus/GettyImages

Harry Kane

Harry Kane needs just three more goals to become the top scorer in the history of the England national team, and he'll fancy his chances of getting them at the World Cup. The Tottenham striker is among the finest in the world in his position.

Raheem Sterling

Raheem Sterling's form at club level has been less than ideal but there's no denying his record on the international stage. He netted three goals en route to the Euro 2020 final and is among the top scorers of Southgate's tenure.

Jude Bellingham

Emerging as one of the best midfielders around at just 19 years old isn't easy, but Jude Bellingham has made it look like a walk in the park. He's been a near-permanent starter for Southgate heading into the tournament and deservedly so.

Phil Foden

Southgate will need to maximise Phil Foden if England are to succeed here. The Manchester City man is one of the Premier League's most dangerous forwards and has quietly been racking up the assists for England heading into the tournament.

England predicted starting lineup

Southgate has switched between systems during his time as England manager. A 4-2-3-1 has been common but the boss' preferred setup appears to be a 3-4-2-1 formation.

England predicted XI: Pickford; Stones, Maguire, Dier; Trippier, Bellingham, Rice, Shaw; Foden, Sterling; Kane.

England's form going into the World Cup

Simply put, things have been bad for England.

The Three Lions won their two friendlies back in March but proceeded to be relegated from the Nations League top tier with a run of three draws and three defeats in six games, including humblings at the hands of Hungary and Italy.

England did, however, end their miserable campaign on a high with a sensational comeback draw against Germany that proved what they can really do when all the stars align.

England's last five results

Germany 1-1 England
England 0-0 Italy
England 0-4 Hungary
Italy 1-0 England
England 3-3 Germany

Where will England finish in the World Cup?

Even with their underwhelming form, England will expect to get out of the group stage and really should be topping Group B, after which point things get interesting.

A round-of-16 clash with either The Netherlands or Senegal is on the cards. If things go to plan, it'll be the latter - a game which England will expect to win.

If France had a fully fit complement of players, you'd expect them to be England's opponents in the quarter-final - however Didier Deschamps' midfield has been weakened because of injuries and despite having Kylian Mbappe among their ranks, they could falter and not top their group.

That leaves Denmark as potential opponents at that stage, which is winnable, but it should be a bridge too far in the semis.

Prediction: Semi-final