Gareth Southgate has expressed his belief that England can win the 2022 World Cup, but has admitted that his team will have to get very close to perfection in order to lift the trophy.
Southgate has guided the impressive development of the Three Lions since taking office in 2016, leading his team to the semi-finals of the 2018 World Cup and the European Championship finals last summer.
In Qatar, the England coach is confident that his team can go to a better one and win everything, as long as they maintain their high standard.
“We told the team that if we could get to the semi-finals, we could get to the finals, and we did,” Southgate told The Times. “If we can reach the finals, we can win. That ‘s clear.
“That is our challenge, not just when we get to Qatar because we have to be in the right condition [during the struggling club season] and before that. That is what we should work on every day together. ”
Southgate was speaking ahead of the World Cup qualifiers on Friday, in which England will take on three of their group stage rivals in the winter tournament.
“You have to look at one pot and think there have been a lot of winning teams in the last few years – Portugal and France have both won major tournaments and both have won the United Nations,” Southgate said.
“And there will be a few teams in the second pot that will be a real threat.”
Expectations for the England team have never been higher. However, Southgate stressed that they would not allow pressure to reach them.
“If you have proof that you can get results, the gap between expectations and what may be small and that makes the team less anxious. We know that the team is continuing its journey of learning in those bigger games than ever before. That helps you to handle it better. ”