Written by Tom Owen
As the international break frustrates and bores club football fans all across the world, I take a look at England’s chances of qualifying for Russia 2018.
England’s euro 2016 campaign ended in embarrassment after Nordic minnows, and the eventual surprise package of the tournament, Iceland beat them 2-1 in Nice. Immediately after the game, Roy Hodgson stepped down to no ones surprise after enduring 3 unsuccessful tournaments. As well as Hodgson, Ray Lewington and Gary Neville also resigned.
This World Cup qualifying campaign signifies a new dawn in English football. Sam Allardyce has been given the challenging task of restoring pride in English football. England have a young and exciting group of players heading into the qualifiers. Dele Ali, Raheem Sterling, Harry Kane and Eric Dier are some to name just a few. However, many people feel that England lack a leader on the pitch. England’s top ever goal scorer Wayne Rooney managed to retain the captains armband after Big Sam took over as he did seem the obvious choice. The other potential candidates were Joe Hart, who has been shipped out on loan to a mid table Serie A club Torino. Gary Cahill also was tipped to maybe claim the armband but his footballing ability has been questioned over the past years for club and country. Rooney will retain the captains armband until after Russia when he will retire. By then some more potential candidates may have emerged.
credit Andrew Wilkinson
England’s group seems relatively straight forward with the main challenges coming in the form of Slovakia And Scotland. Slovakia, who England only managed to draw with in France, endured a successful tournament until being knocked out by Germany. They boast a roster of exciting players such as Marek Hamsik and Juraj Kucka. Scotland will be determined to have a better qualification process as last time out they were the only home nation not to make it to France. They have a decent squad with most of their players playing their trade in Scotland or the Premier League and Championship. Although Scotland have a good group of players, I feel like they lack the quality or cutting edge to challenge England. As well as Scotland And Slovakia, England have to face Slovenia, Lithuania and Malta and should expect to breeze past all three of them.
In the past, England have flew through qualification and I expect them to again. They will hope to avoid any a repeat of their disastrous showing in 2008 where they failed to make it to Austria.
Chance of qualifying: 9.7/10
Will it be breeze for England is qualification? Let us know in the comments below!