England

Gareth Southgate insists England can win 2022 World Cup

Matt O'Connor-Simpson
Southgate is confident about England's chances this winter
Southgate is confident about England's chances this winter / Craig Mercer/MB Media/GettyImages
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Gareth Southgate has revealed his belief that England can win the 2022 World Cup, but admitted his side will need to be as 'close to perfect' as possible to lift the trophy.

Southgate has overseen the Three Lions' dramatic improvement since taking over in 2016, guiding his side to a World Cup semi-final in 2018 and European Championship final last summer.

In Qatar, the England boss is confident that his side can go one better and win the whole thing, provided they maintain their high standards.

“We said to the team that if we can get to a semi-final, we can get to a final, and we did,” Southgate told The Times. "If we can get to a final, we can win. That’s clear. To do that is incredibly difficult and we’ll have to be as close to perfect as can be.

“That’s the challenge for us, not just when we get to Qatar because we’ve got to be in the right condition [in the middle of a draining club season] even before that. That’s what we’ve got to work towards every day we’re together.”

Southgate was speaking before Friday's World Cup draw, where England will learn their three group-stage opponents for the winter tournament.

“You only have to look through pot one and think there are a number of teams that have won in the past few years — Portugal and France have both won major tournaments and they’ve both won the Nations League,” Southgate added.

“And then there are going to be a couple of teams in pot two as well that are going to be a real threat.”

Expectation levels for this England group have never been higher. However, Southgate insisted that they would not let the pressure get to them.

“When you’ve got evidence that you can get results, then the gap between expectation and what is possible is smaller and that makes the team less anxious. We know that the team are further on their journey of learning from those big-match experiences than we were before. That helps you handle it even better.”

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