Arsene Wenger has tipped England to do well in the World Cup as they get ready to kick-off their tournament on Monday against Iran, but he doesn’t think they will win it.
At the last World Cup in Russia, England reached the semi-finals, only to lose to Croatia, who themselves went on to lose against France in the Moscow final.
The Three Lions then followed that up with a run to the final of the postponed 2020 Euros in 2021, only to lose on penalties to Italy.
That might lead some to think that England will win the World Cup this year as they’ve edged themselves ever closer over the last decade.
Former Arsenal manager, Arsene Wenger, who now works as FIFA’s Head of Global Development, is not one of them.
“If you look at the last few years, England should be in the semi-finals at least,” Wenger told The S*n.
“They got to the semi-finals in Russia and then the Final in the Euros.
“But the doubt comes from what has happened over the past year.
“If they can get over that doubt in their own minds, they have the team that is good enough to reach the semi-finals.
“In Russia four years ago it was all about a deep defensive line and counter-attacking.
“This time it will be about the high press, the teams that can play out and have that courage, or the ones who go long.
“I expect to see the teams who want the ball being the most successful.
“But this is also a last chance tournament for the players who have dominated football for the last 15 years.
“You think about Ronaldo and Messi but there is also Neymar, Modric and Lewandowski, and some others.
“There will not be another World Cup for them. It’s now or never.
“This is that last opportunity to show the world they deserve to win it and so these big players will have pressure on their shoulders and we will see how they cope with that.”
The first World Cup took place in 1930 but England only entered the tournament for the first time in 1950 (although there was no World Cup in 1942 and 1946 due to World War II).
Since 1950, however, England have only missed out on reaching the finals of the competition three times (West Germany 1974, Argentina 1978, and USA 1994).
Of the 15 World Cups they have appeared at, England have failed to get out of their group three times (Brazil 1950, Sweden 1958, and Brazil 2014).
England have won the World Cup once (England, 1966), finished fourth twice (Italy 1990 and Russia 2018), and reached the quarter-finals nine times.
They face Iran, USA and Wales in Group B.
England at the World Cup
|England FIFA World Cup finals record|
|Uruguay 1930||Not a FIFA member||x||x||x||x||x||x||x|
|Italy 1934||Not a FIFA member||x||x||x||x||x||x||x|
|France 1938||Not a FIFA member||x||x||x||x||x||x||x|
|Brazil 1950||Group stage||8th||3||1||0||2||2||2|
|Sweden 1958||Group stage||11th||4||0||3||1||4||5|
|West Germany 1974||Did not qualify||x||x||x||x||x||x||x|
|Argentina 1978||Did not qualify||x||x||x||x||x||x||x|
|Spain 1982||Second group stage||6th||5||3||2||0||6||1|
|Italy 1990||Fourth place||4th||7||3||3||1||8||6|
|United States 1994||Did not qualify||x||x||x||x||x||x||x|
|France 1998||Round of 16||9th||4||2||1||1||7||4|
|South Korea Japan 2002||Quarter-finals||6th||5||2||2||1||6||3|
|South Africa 2010||Round of 16||13th||4||1||2||1||3||5|
|Brazil 2014||Group stage||26th||3||0||1||2||2||4|
|Russia 2018||Fourth place||4th||7||3||1||3||12||8|