It’s been largely plain sailing for the Three Lions so far. They breezed through the group stages, finishing top of group b on seven points. The group included Wales, Iran and the United States. Statistically, it was the hardest group at the World Cup.
And then, the round of 16 was a walk in the park for the side. Goals from Jordan Henderson, Harry Kane and Bukayo Saka sealed a convincing 3-0 win over Senegal, setting up this mouth-watering tie against the current World Champions.
Many have called this the ‘most likeable’ England side for a long time. Many feared England’s ‘golden generation’ had come and gone with nothing to show for it after poor performances in major tournaments prior to Southgate’s arrival.
But now, Southgate always had a selection headache that previous managers might not have faced, proving how the level of football is increasing in England. With every player arguably deserving a place.
Still, some players have yet to play a minute at the World Cup for England just yet. This isn’t the case with a top nation like Brazil. After bringing on backup goalkeeper Weverton, every player for the South American side has now made an appearance.
Who hasn’t played a minute for England at the Qatar World Cup?
The Arsenal number one claimed the shirt from Bernd Leno, and has helped Arsenal to head into the World Cup top of the table. Doubts were cast over his ability in net following back-to-back relegations, but he is now flourishing in the Premier League..
Also a backup goalkeeper, Pope recently joined Newcastle after leaving Burnley following their relegation. He has always been known as a reliable goalkeeper, but has raised his game this season.
White has since left the squad for personal reasons. But, he was available for the entire group stage but didn’t make an appearance. White has been a great player for Arsenal this season, despite playing at right back, which isn’t his natural position.
If Coady doesn’t get minutes, it will be his second successive tournament without featuring. A solid centre-back, seemingly comfortable playing in a back four and five, Coady may play if England decide to switch it up against France.
Arguably the most surprising inclusion, Gallagher has featured a lot for Chelsea this season. He brings good energy to any side, and could prove useful going forward.
A big part of why Maddison is yet to feature is because he came into the tournament with a slight knock, ruling him out of England’s opening games. Rumours were rife prior to the tournament that Maddison would not make the squad and he did, but has yet to get on the pitch.