Who can England face in World Cup knockouts? Messi or Mbappe await

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Sometimes, cliches are cliches for a reason. England, for example, have been knocked out in the quarter-finals of the World Cup eight times between 1950 and 2006. No side has bowed out more in eight tournaments.

Remember when everyone made a big deal about England’s failure to progress beyond that hurdle? So, here’s the reason. Every joke, they say, has a grain of truth.

All this does not bode well for Gareth Southgate’s boys in Qatar. Not given the quality of opposition they could face in the quarter finals.

So, with England, tofinished top of a group that included Wales, USA and a formidable Iran outfit.

The first knockout round is when things start to get really serious, however. It’s the same as going from pro-style to professional on FIFA 23. Louis van Gaal’s Dutch side have quite a few top-level talents in their ranks. And if you thought Sadio Mane was terrifying, you probably didn’t pay much attention to his Senegal team-mates Ismaila Sarr, Bamba Dieng and Iliman Ndiaye.

Photo by CHARLY TRIBALLEAU/AFP via Getty Images

If there is an upset in Group A, Southgate and his coaching staff will be more likely to get to know Ecuador or host Qatar.

How far are England from the Qatar World Cup?

But a quarter-final spot is possible. Then came the big boys. The master war zone. France or Argentina? Kylian Mbappe or Lionel Messi? That’s like choosing between being stabbed in a human jelly by a steamer, or kicked by a Spartan in a pit of snakes.

Of course, the identity of England’s quarter-final opponents – if they make it to the other side – will depend on what happens in Groups C and D. Argentina have done a lot since a poor season in Jorge Sampaoli. They did a very short job in Italy Conclusion (yes, that’s really competitive).

Lionel Scaloni’s side are favorites to win Group C ahead of Mexico, Saudi Arabia and a desperate Poland side that includes a frustrated and hungry Robert Lewandowski.

At the moment, France are the strongest team in Group D despite Denmark being the best outfit. Les Bleus, The holders of the World Cup, should be too much for those who finish behind Argentina in the round of sixteen.

Is it a quarter final issue?

If England get the better of Argentina or France – beating a genuine challenger in a play-off for the first time in generations (we’re in dreamland now, lads) – they could Harry Kane and his friends face the champions of Spain, Belgium, Brazil or Portugal in the semi-finals.

Germany, another opponent, has made a resurgence under former Bayern Munich coach and treble winner Hansi Flick, and will be rewarded after last year’s Euros.

Of course, this is all speculation. This is an England team that is far from convincing, much less compared to the one that came within a few penalty kicks of glory at Wembley some 15 months ago, with many of Southgate’s most trusted lieutenants. whether or not it looks like it. of satisfaction at the club level.

But if you don’t dream of a thrilling run to the World Cup final on the brink of a new World Cup, where can you?

Photo by Eddie Keogh – The FA/The FA via Getty Images

In other news, Tottenham youngster & Newcastle target: England under-21 stars make World Cup squad

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