Having started out with an emphatic 6-2 win over Iran, we've mapped out England's route to the World Cup final on Sunday 18th December.
World Cup 2022: Plotting England’s route to the final
USA and Wales are still to come for England in Group B, but Three Lions fans are already dreaming about the long run to the final in Qatar.
Round of 16 – Senegal or Ecuador?
Assuming England can come through as group winners, Gareth Southgate’s side would be on course to face the runners up from Group A at the Al Bayt Stadium, Al Khor, next Sunday.
Netherlands are expected to win Group A, particularly having started with a win on Monday, which leaves the tournament hosts Qatar, Senegal and Ecuador vying for second place.
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Quarter-Finals – France or Argentina?
Given France's impressive start to Group D against Australia, at least from an attacking perspective, the chances are that Southgate's side will run into world champions France in the quarter-finals.
However, France were originally expected to avoid Argentina in the last 16 as fellow table toppers, but they might now have to come through Lionel Messi’s side first. Mexico, Poland or Saudi Arabia are France’s other potential Round of 16 opponents.
Olivier Giroud scored twice against the Socceroos, bringing up a half century of goals for his country, but Les Bleus might come to miss the injured Ballon d'Or winner Karim Benzema by the latter stages.
Midfielder Adrien Rabiot - another scorer on Tuesday - certainly has talent but lacks the tournament experience of the injured Paul Pogba and N'Golo Kante.
Semi-Finals – Portugal or Belgium?
The odds suggest this is likeliest to be Belgium, unconvincing winners over Canada last night, and Portugal – a side battling the unwanted distraction of Cristiano Ronaldo’s club future.
However, Roberto Martinez’s Belgium side already know that they are paired with Group E in the last 16 draw, which they thought would mean Spain or Hansi Flick’s Germany. Japan, of course, are now firmly in the conversation having humbled the Germans at the Khalifa International Stadium.
Portugal, meanwhile, are likeliest (according to the odds at least) to meet Serbia or Switzerland in the Round of 16, before Belgium, Spain or Germany in the quarter-finals. We expect Ronaldo’s Portugal or Belgium will be knocked out by England in the World Cup semi-finals.
World Cup Final – Spain or Brazil?
So, are we only three and a half weeks away from England arriving in the World Cup final? According to the latest tournament odds, Netherlands, Spain and Brazil are heavily fancied to be group winners on the opposite half to Southgate’s England.
The Netherlands stuttered to an opening win over a Senegal side missing Sadio Mane, with Spain much more impressive – albeit against Group E outsiders Costa Rica. Brazil are the big favourites to win Group G. We can’t think of a better final opponent before football finally comes home.