As the Three Lions go on the hunt for the UEFA Nations League again, you can’t help but wonder if this time the lads will bring it home. Last time out, England slumped to a 3-1 defeat to the Netherlands in the semi-final. They did, however, get a bit of redemption by placing third overall. This year, Southgate’s boys placed an exclamation mark to their qualification bid.
England stunned Montenegro 7-0 to qualify for the prestigious tournament. Can we say this performance is a sign of what’s following in this campaign? Only time will tell, but for now, let’s take a peek into England’s chances.
One way we can get a clue if England fits the bill is to look at its performance in the UEFA
Nations League qualifiers. The Three Lions had a dream group which no one expected them to struggle with. The team was pitted in a group featuring Bulgaria, Czech Republic, Kosovo, and Montenegro. Their closest rival on the FIFA Coca Cola rankings on this list is the Czech Republic at 44. As expected England made light work of the competition coming out with 21 of a potential 24 points. We believe going solely by these results would be jumping the gun.
Some more information is needed to help us form an opinion. So let’s look at the team’s pedigree.
The Three Lions Squad
Gareth Southgate has called a 24 man squad. By the looks of things, it is a merge of tried and tested names, resurgent heroes, and rising superstars. The team has the right depth and experience in the right places. The Gaffer made his intentions very clear when he pitched a strong squad for the Iceland and Denmark away fixtures. The top picks from
Manchester United and Manchester City also received call-ups. The team looks strong and seems well and able to get the job done. With players like Raheem Sterling and Marcus
Rashford on the roaster, England can stand toe to toe with the best.
England is in group A2 for the UEFA Nations League. Four European national teams make up this group. So, the Three Lions will pit against Iceland, Denmark, and Belgium. There are other elite teams also in the league, like Portugal and Spain. But before England can think about that, it has to come out on top in this group first.
Yes, the contenders are of a higher pedigree than in the qualifiers. But England has a good chance of performing well here. However, it’s very difficult to state that with absolute certainty, seeing that England is in League A Group 2 alongside tough opponents like Belgium. How difficult it is can also be understood by the predictions of the bookmakers listed on bet.xyz who are likely to indicate who the odds favour.
The Main Actors
The England team is star-studded. It’s not surprising at all, considering the EPL is the best league in the world. So whenever a team is set up, it is packed with top performers. Included in the team for the Nations League are three of the top English marksmen in the EPL. These are Danny Ings, Raheem Sterling, and Harry Kane. They have banged in a combined total of 60 goals this season alone. Southgate has obvious intentions of eradicating the goal drought that plagued the team in the third-place playoff last time around.
As expected, Gareth Southgate has infused young blood into the team with many players making their debut. The likes of Conor Coady and Ainsley Niles will get a taste of what international football is all about. But as we are sure most would agree, the cameras will be on Manchester United’s rising star Mason Greenwood. The 18-year-old maestro has had a stellar season at Old Trafford, netting an impressive 10 goals. Most eyes will be glued on the telly, to see if he can duplicate these efforts in the Nations League. If he does that, then The Three Lions squad will have a fighting chance.
Gareth Southgate has done an impeccable job of meeting the balance between present needs and future development. He has married the expertise of experienced players with the exuberance of debutants. Do you know how they say the best team on the day will win? Well, that truth rings louder as we draw near to the action-packed UEFA Nations League.