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England possible starting lineup for game 1 of the group stage vs Iran

Who will Gareth Southgate select for England’s first game of the World Cup?

Joe Brennan
Bellingham (BorussiaDortmund-Inglaterra). 100M€

England take on Iran in their World Cup opener at the Khalifa International Stadium in Doha on Monday. The last time England played a football match together was *checks notes* in a 3-3 draw against Germany... eight weeks ago. The hectic Premier League action has cut England’s training schedule down to fit on a post-it note so the game against Iran will be the first time since September that the Three Lions squad will kick a ball and have another team trying to take if from them.

The Nations League campaign was quite the disaster for England, with them going winless, being relegated to Group B and not scoring a goal in open play until that crazy 3-3 against Germany. Their form guide has a distinct lack of green and reads: LDDLLD. Things can only improve, it seems.

England invited migrant workers to train with them on Saturday.
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England invited migrant workers to train with them on Saturday.Eddie Keogh - The FAGetty

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The first thing to note is that it isn’t entirely clear as to whether Southgate will go with a back 3 or a back 4. Given the injury to Kyle Walker, Trippier will most likely play as a right-sided full-back with Shaw on the opposite flank, but who goes in between is anyone’s guess. Two of Maguire, Shaw and Stones will be in the XI. If I had to choose (and I do), given Iran’s comparative strength, it may seem more plausible that Southgate opts for a back 4 and plays an extra midfielder/attacker.

Looking at the midfield, Kalvin Phillips is a doubt due to a lack of minutes, although Southgate values highly the partnership between the ex-Leeds United man and Declan Rice. Jude Bellingham is another name on everyone’s lips, and strong performances for Dortmund mean that he is probably going to feature from the start. James Maddison is the other doubt, having not trained the last 2 days, but he was never likely to find a place in the starting XI.

England’s predicted XI:

  • Pickford; Trippier, Stones, Maguire, Shaw; Rice, Bellingham; Sterling, Mount, Foden; Kane

England’s schedule and group in the 2022 World Cup

Group B: United States, Wales, Iran

November 21

8 a.m. ET England vs Iran

November 25

12 noon ET England vs USA

November 29

12 noon ET Wales vs England


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