fans are already mapping out the team’s possible route to the final in – but they must first navigate their way through a potentially awkward-looking group.
The Three Lions have been alongside Iran, USA and .
Speculation is very much a dangerous game – and nothing is a given where England are involved – but here are the Three Lions’ best and worst possible routes to the World Cup final in Doha on Sunday, December 18.
What is England’s best possible route to the final?
Should England win Group B, they would face the runners-up of Group A in the Round of 16.
That would mean England face one of Netherlands, Senegal, Ecuador or Qatar in the first knock-out round.
In the dream scenario, they avoid the Netherlands and play Qatar – but it’s most likely to be either Senegal or Ecuador on Sunday, December 4 at the Al Bayt Stadium in Al Khor.
If Gareth Southgate’s side make it through to the quarter-final they would face the victor of the match between the Group D winner and the Group C runner-up.
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Argentina, Poland, Mexico and Saudi Arabia make up Group C, while France, Denmark, Australia and Tunisia are in Group D.
If the dream run to the final continued, England would be facing Poland, Australia, Tunisia, Mexico or Saudi Arabia in the quarter-final, but unfortunately for the Three Lions it’s likely to be France.
The quarter-final would be held on Saturday, December 10 at the Al Bayt Stadium in Al Khor.
In the scenario that England triumph in the quarter-final, the Three Lions’ most likely opponents in the semi-final would be either Portugal or Belgium.
However, if luck is very much on their side, England could in theory face any one of Costa Rica, Croatia, New Zealand, Japan, Canada, Morocco, Croatia, Switzerland, Serbia, Cameroon, Ghana, Uruguay or South Korea in the semis.
The match would take place on Wednesday, December 14 at the Al Bayt Stadium.
And if England do indeed advance from the semi-final, the 26 young men would have a shot at immortality in the final most likely against Spain, Germany or Brazil at the Lusail Iconic Stadium on Sunday, December 18.
What is England’s worst possible route to the final?
A runners-up spot in the group would likely see them face a nightmare run to the World Cup final.
It would probably be the Netherlands first up in the Round of 16 on Saturday, December 3, at the Khalifa International Stadium in Al Rayyan.
If England dump the Dutch out of the World Cup, they would probably face Argentina in the quarter-finals, assuming Messi&co overcome the runners-up from Group D.
The blockbuster showdown with the Argentines – but don’t rule out a date with the dogged Danes – would be held on Friday, December 9 at the Lusail Iconic Stadium.
In the event of progression to the semi-finals, England could then face Spain, Germany or Brazil at the Lusail Iconic Stadium on Tuesday, December 13.
If England come through the nightmare run to the final, the chances are they would face Portugal or Belgium in the final for a date with destiny.
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