Analysing England's Performance at the World Cup and the Road Ahead
Finally, the FIFA World Cup 2018 has concluded with France being deservedly crowned as new world champions. The tournament, in particular, had its fair share of surprises and upsets. Some big names failed to impress and new heroes emerged. The curse of defending champions struck again and the tiny nation of Croatia shocked the world by reaching the final.
On the other hand, Gareth Southgate and his young English troops surprised one and all by finishing in the top four of the World cup. The nation which is home to the richest league in the world has every reason to feel proud of its football team as they have already outdone the achievements of the so-called Golden Generation.
The team led by inspirational striker Harry Kane exceeded all expectation on route to reaching its first World Cup semifinal in nearly three decades. After years of underachieving, the football team finally recaptured nations imagination with its heroics. This lot of you players is expected to spearhead the British nation into the new dawn of English football for many years to come.
But the bigger challenges lie ahead with UEFA Nations League and Euro 2020 qualifying in coming months. England are in a tough group for UEFA Nations League along with Spain and World Cup finalist Croatia who beat them in the semi-final.
Gareth Southgate will have a lot of positives but at the same time will have to work on grey areas in all the departments:
Jordon Pickford has firmly established himself as the undisputed number one for English national team at least for foreseeable future with some fine displays especially in Knockout stages of the world cup.
He had an impressive save percentage of 68 per cent but more importantly, he looked assured with his passing and marshalled his defence quite well. Pickford is quite young and Southgate will expect him to keep on improving and not go the Joe Hart way.
But England will need some solid backup options as well. With likes of Jack Butland, Nick Pope and Tom Heaton, Southgate has exactly that. Only concern is their lack of experience at the international level. With Joe Hart's club future still uncertain, Southgate can also call upon Ben Foster or Fraser Forster if he needs experience in the goalkeeping department.