The former England striker Gary Lineker believes next year’s competition in Russia is a bit too early for the evolving young nucleus of England team to mount any significant title challenge.
Furthermore, he added that France, Germany, and Brazil have strong squad will be the firm favorites to lift the trophy in July next year.
The England’s record goalscorer in FIFA World Cup finals is to host the final group stage draw later today for the upcoming 2018 World Cup, the draw could put his home nation England in the same pool as European heavyweights Germany, France, Belgium, Portugal, and Belgium as well as South American favorites Brazil and Argentina.
Gary Lineker, source: The Indian Express
Linker tipped France as favorites because of the wide array of talent at head coach Didier Deschamp’s disposal from the likes of N’Golo Kante to Kylian Mbappe who have consistently performed well in their respective clubs.
Speaking for the FIFA website he said: “It’s probably going to be the usual suspects: Brazil and Germany, You can’t rule them out, as history shows that they’ve always been successful.”
He further added that "Spain will be competitive again, but if I had to pick a team right now, for the squad they have, then I’d go for France. Look at the players they’ve got: a good goalkeeper, a very strong defense and a very talented midfield. Kante is amazing! Up front, they’ve got Mbappe, who’s a potential superstar. They’re in great shape and they’ll be right in the mix for sure.”
Even though England finished top of their qualifying group and drew against Germany and Brazil in their recent matches, Linker predicts England just utilizing the upcoming competition in Russia for experience rather than putting up any challenge but expects the young three lions to come good in future competitions.
On speaking about England’s chances he said: "I don’t think they’re among the favorites this time. We haven’t been for a while in fact," he added. "We’ve got some talented players coming through, some very good young players, though next year is maybe going to come a bit too soon for them.
"They’ve had a lot of success at the U-17 and U-20 World Cups, but I don’t think it’s their time yet, though you never know."We’ll be competitive at this World Cup, which hasn’t been the case with us in recent times."
It has to be seen in the in the future whether Linker’s prediction will be true or not come this June and July. World Cup throughout its glorious history and recent times have seen favorite bowing out early in the competition and lesser teams or dark horse fairing well and claiming bigger scalps.
No matter how the pundits and experts analyze a team’s chances; being termed “underdogs” is good for a young team like England as the pressure to perform and weight of expectations can weigh down the young shoulders to produce results instead of going all out with nothing to lose.