Aldo's verdict | 

There is a clear reason why England WILL NOT win the World Cup

We’ve seen it time and time again – and it always has the same outcome, with England eventually getting beaten.

England manager Gareth Southgate before the FIFA World Cup Group B match at the Al Bayt Stadium in Al Khor, Qatar. Picture date: Friday November 25, 2022.© PA

John AldridgeSunday World

ENGLAND will NOT win this World Cup in Qatar, but we are all in for a few days of familiar hype.

Every couple of years, we see a familiar pattern from England fans when their national team is in a big tournament.

In the days before their first match, the media hype them up to ridiculous levels and tells anyone who will listen that ‘Football’s Coming Home’.

Their 6-2 win against Iran on Monday fuelled that euphoria all over again, and convinced many in England that the time was right to start looking at availability of open-top buses for the trophy tour of London next month.

Then they draw 0-0 against USA on Friday night and the media rip into them, while their fans start fighting each other in the streets.

We’ve seen it time and time again – and it always has the same outcome, with England eventually getting beaten.

To be fair to Gareth Southgate, he has pushed them closer to trophy success than we have seen in recent years. Their runs to the 2018 World Cup semi-finals and the final of last year’s Euros were good efforts.

Yet I look at them in this World Cup and there are far too many question marks hanging over them to go all the way.

Harry Kane is their first problem, as he is reminding me of Bobby Firmino over the last couple of years at Liverpool.

Firmino has been fantastic this season and should have been in the Brazil squad for this World Cup, but he lost his way in the last couple of years and seemed happy to be a bit part player in the team.

Kane looks similar to me in this England team, as he has been dropping too deep to try and get involved, and is not getting himself in goal scoring positions.

AL KHOR, QATAR - NOVEMBER 25: Harry Kane of England controls the ball against Christian Pulisic of United States during the FIFA World Cup Qatar 2022 Group B match between England and USA at Al Bayt Stadium on November 25, 2022 in Al Khor, Qatar. (Photo by Clive Mason/Getty Images)© Getty Images

In Kane’s defence, he has not been getting good passes, especially from wide positions.

Gary Neville was on the telly on Friday saying Trent Alexander-Arnold should have been involved against USA, as he could have unlocked the door to victory – and I obviously agree with that sentiment.

Southgate clearly doesn’t rate Trent as a defender and that’s why he is reluctant to put him into his team, even against USA in a group game.

The other argument is that he is world-class with his delivery and creativity – and I’m sure Kane would like to be on the end of his crosses.

There is also a debate over whether Manchester City’s Phil Foden should be in the England team – and there is no doubt that he is another player who can unlock a defensive door.

I’d expect England to get to the quarter-finals over the next few weeks, but there are better teams in this tournament, and their defensive frailties will eventually be exposed.

Brazil and France have probably been the pick of the teams so far, with Kylian Mbappe a class act in the French side.

I’ve had a little flutter on Belgium coming good and winning a major tournament at 18/1 – and it feels like this is a World Cup that is more open than most.

These early group matches are often cagey, and I remember Ireland’s first matches in the 1990 World Cup – against England and the famous game against Italy in New York – were like that.

Teams are happy to get a point or two on the board, but things start to open up once we get to the final group games and the knockout stages.

The best moments of this World Cup have come from underdogs, and that’s why I say it could be the year for a surprise winner.

We all know this tournament shouldn’t be in Qatar, and the lack of preparation time for the teams is a factor in some of the wild results we have seen.

Saudi Arabia beating Argentina was an incredible result and Japan getting the better of Germany is what you want to see in a World Cup.

Yet, in the end, the cream always rises to the top and an England team that has a big weak spot in their defence won’t have what it takes to get over the winning line.


Today's Headlines

More Soccer

Download the Sunday World app

Now download the free app for all the latest Sunday World News, Crime, Irish Showbiz and Sport. Available on Apple and Android devices

WatchMore Videos