England head into the World Cup in Qatar after a series of disappointing results but are still rated as among the favourites for the tournament.
A look at the World Cup 2022 bets shows that England are still regarded as among the strongest sides and have a realistic chance of winning the trophy.
Although more recent results have been a cause for concern, the team have generally made excellent progress under Gareth Southgate, reaching the semi-finals last time around and since then having reached the final of the European Championships, losing on penalties to Italy at Wembley.
There’s no doubt that England have quality players, but there are certainly areas that boss Southgate will have reservations about.
The main concern is in defence, where Southgate still seems unsure of his best options. He has not been helped by the fact that Harry Maguire, so impressive at the last World Cup, has lost form in a big way. The likes of Tyrone Mings and Eric Dier have also looked prone to errors.
Injuries have not helped, with Chelsea’s Reece James and Ben Chilwell among the players unavailable. Kyle Walker is an option at both right-back in the centre of defence, and if John Stones can cut out the errors then perhaps England will be tight enough. But it’s definitely an area of concern.
In midfield, Southgate’s options are decent. It’s really a question of finding the right balance.
Declan Rice has become a mainstay of the team and Southgate will have to decide whether to go with the experience of Jordan Henderson or the youth and energy of Jude Bellingham, who has been hugely impressive for both England and Borussia Dortmund.
Mason Mount can operate in midfield or further forward and there are other options for Southgate too, so England ought to be strong through the middle.
Over-reliant on Kane?
In attack, England have more good options, but it remains to be seen which blend Southgate decides to go with.
Raheem Sterling has not been in great form for Chelsea but has a proven record of delivering for England, so Southgate will surely go with him. James Maddison is a man in form and his inclusion in the squad was an interesting move – will he play a significant role?
Many England fans will want to see Jack Grealish and Phil Foden really make an impact on the international stage and this could be a pivotal moment in the careers of both of them.
Harry Kane will of course lead the attack, but has Southgate made a mistake by leaving Ivan Toney out of the squad? Toney has been in great form and England do potentially look over-reliant on their captain for goals and a physical presence up front.