Latest England news from Qatar
By Matt Law
England are optimistic captain Harry Kane has not sustained an ankle injury after the striker underwent a scan and joined training.
Manager Gareth Southgate has yet to decide on Friday whether or not to start Kane against the United States. But news of his injury was seen as encouraging in the England camp, with goalkeeper Jordan Pickford confirming the striker had trained on Wednesday.
“I think he (Kane) is good, a little sore, but he’s fine and he’s on the grass today,” said Pickford. “He’s our captain, he’s been good. He’s fine, yes.”
Kane was sent for a scan after suffering a tough challenge in the win over Iran, which both the player and Southgate were unconcerned about on Monday night.
The FA said Kane took part in an indoor recovery session on Tuesday and it remains unclear whether or not the scan was booked as a precaution or because he felt some added discomfort.
Even though he didn’t make the scoresheet in the 6-2 win over Iran, Kane performed superbly, registering two assists.
England’s Group B opponents
Wales dramatically advanced to the World Cup final via the qualifying play-offs after beating a passionate Ukrainian side in Cardiff in June. Victory for Wales’ talent-studded golden generation earned them a trip to the country’s second ever World Cup final – their first since 1958.
USA also returns to the tournament after an absence, albeit a shorter one. After falling short of Russia in 2018, the US placed third in the Concacaf qualifiers to secure their place in Qatar. More than ever, team players will be familiar to Premier League fans, due to the recent influx of American players into the competition, including Tyler Adams and Brenden Aaronson at Leeds, Antonee Robinson at Fulham and US captain Christian Pulisic, who plays for Chelsea.
While Wales and the US could upset the group and fight for second place, Iran are the underdogs of Group B. While a Fifa ranking of 22 suggests they are certainly not statistically one of the weakest sides in the competition, preparations have been marred by infighting, while head coach Dragan Skocic has been replaced by former manager Carlos Queiroz, who oversaw the team’s group stage knockout in Russia.
Program World Cup football
If England win Group B
The Group B winners will play the Group A runners-up – Qatar, the Netherlands, Ecuador and Senegal – with the Afcon winners as their most likely opponents.
France are favorites to win Group D against Denmark, Tunisia and Australia, and would face the Group C runners-up from Argentina, Saudi Arabia, Mexico or Poland to win the chance to face England in the quarter-finals, Southgate’s men were allowed to progress from the last 16 knockout round.
If England reach the semi-finals, they could face Belgium or Portugal, strong contenders in Groups F and H, and in a possible final, England could face Spain, Brazil or Germany.
If England finish second in Group B
This would lead to a clash between the Group A winners, and if England beat the Netherlands, they could face Argentina or Denmark in the quarter-finals.
Should England make the semi-finals in this scenario, their opponents could be one of Spain, Germany or Brazil, the cream of the crop from Groups E and G, to set up a possible final against France, Belgium, or Portugal in Lusail.
The first two quarter-finals will take place on Friday, December 9 at 3pm and 7pm and will be played at Education City Stadium and Lusail Iconic Stadium. The remaining quarter-finals are on Saturday, December 10 at 3:00 PM and 7:00 PM and will be played at Al Thumama Stadium and Al Bayt Stadium.
The semi-finals will take place on Tuesday, December 13 and Wednesday, December 14 at Lusail Iconic Stadium and Al Bayt Stadium, with both matches taking place at 7pm.
The World Cup final will take place on Sunday, December 18 at 3 p.m. at the Lusail Iconic Stadium.
Who is in the England squad?
Southgate have designated a 26-man squad for the tournament, including call-ups for James Maddison and Conor Gallagher.