The 2018 World Cup in Russia is just under a month away, and some teams are still being put together. However, that’s not stopping The Highlander from breaking down every group to give you a comprehensive overview leading up to the first kickoff.
Group G, Part I
FIFA Ranking: 13
World Cup Appearances: 9
First Appearance: 1954
Last Appearance: 2014
Best result: Fourth place, Semi Finalist 2002
Coach: Gareth Southgate, coached England U21 from 2013-2016, has served as head coach since 2016
Once considered a one-season wonder, the Tottenham hitman has come off of a season in which he scored 30 goals and provided two assists. This also marks the fourth straight season where the 24 year old has scored 20 or more goals in the EPL. Kane has been able to translate this scintillating form for England, scoring twelve goals in twenty three appearances. Kane’s 6’2, 188 pound frame has been an absolute nightmare for opposing sides to defend against. Not only is Kane physically impossible to stop, but he plays an incredibly dynamic style and can score from nearly any situation. He showed off this versatility last season when he scored thirteen of his goals with his right foot, ten with his left foot and six with his head. The rest of his goals were penalties, but with such an overwhelming majority of his goals coming from open play, he should feel confident that he will have a strong first World Cup. He will most likely line up next to Leicester’s pacey striker Jamie Vardy, and England will be heavily reliant on these two to fire them far into the tournament this June.
It is not often that both of the two key players on a Highlander World Cup Halftime come from the same club, but leaving Dele Alli (22) off would be unfair. This is a player who had won the PFA Young Player of the year twice by the time he was 21 years old. While Kane will have to likely carry the burden of scoring most of England’s goals, Alli will be responsible for helping provide a creative spark to an England midfield that has a stigma of being otherwise dull. The dynamic midfielder is coming off of an EPL season in which he scored 9 goals and assisted 10 more for Tottenham. Alli is a refreshing, more modern English player and has already earned praise from some of the game’s all time greats including none other than England legend Frank Lampard. He will likely play behind Harry Kane and Jamie Vardy, and will serve as the link behind England’s midfield and attack. A failure to properly utilize Alli’s talents will lead to a disjointed attack and yet another disappointing England showing this June.
Potential lineup: Pickford – Tarkowski, Stones, Walker – Young, Henderson, Dier, Alli, Sterling – Vardy, Kane
Prediction: 2nd in group, Quarter finalists
Vs. Tunisia 06/18
Vs. Panama 06/24
Vs. Belgium 06/28