Ah, England. The home of football. The pressure that comes with wearing the Three Lions on your chest is like no other, and it's that fear which has scuppered England’s World Cup hopes in the past.
Over 50 years have passed since Bobby Moore lifted the World Cup trophy, with England not even coming close to challenging for the biggest prize in football in recent years.
All is not lost, however. The appointment of Gareth Southgate in 2016 pointed to a new philosophy from The FA. Southgate had been in charge of the U21s for three years and now he's stepped up to the big job, giving younger players a chance.
That means there is significantly less pressure for England this summer in Russia. Yes, they have been handed a kind group, but England fans and pundits are not expectant of a deep run into the tournament from the Young Lions.
A World Cup update is coming for FIFA 18 and winning the World Cup with England will be one of the most pleasing challenges on the game. RealSport gives you everything you need to know when setting up with Southgate’s men.
England receive a 4 ½ star rating on the FIFA 18 World Cup update, which reflects their 82 overall. This consists of an 84 attack, 81 midfield and 80 defence.
England’s potential World Cup fixtures
Round of 16
Colombia or Poland
Brazil or Germany
Germany or Brazil
The group stage has been kind to England, and two victories should be secured in the opening two games against the minnows of Tunisia and Panama. The crunch game comes against the talented Belgium, with the winner of that clash more than likely to top the group.
England would then likely face Colombia or Poland in the Round of 16, and judging by England’s balanced side, they should be able to come through with a win with that tie. Just look to nullify the likes of James Rodriguez or Robert Lewandowski.
Things get a lot harder for the quarterfinals, but England did hold Brazil and Germany to 0-0 draws earlier this season. The semifinals options are no easier before meeting Germany or Brazil in the final.
Gareth Southgate has opted for a five at the back system to bolster an inconsistent defence, but we have decided to be a touch more balanced for our World Cup campaign with a 4-3-3 holding formation.
Jack Butland wins the battle for the goalkeeper’s shirt, with the pacey Kyle Walker (93 sprint speed), Gary Cahill, Phil Jones and Danny Rose making up the back four.
Eric Dier is the deep lying midfielder, with Jesse Lingard just ahead of him alongside the dangerous Dele Alli (85 reactions). Raheem Sterling and Marcus Rashford flank the clinical Harry Kane (88 composure) in attack.
On the bench choose Jordan Pickford, Chris Smalling, Fabian Delph, Jordan Henderson, Adam Lallana, Danny Welbeck and Jamie Vardy.
England hold so much pace out wide and you need to use it. Marcus Rashford (92 sprint speed) and Raheem Sterling (94 acceleration) are a serious threat going forward, plus your full-backs can help you double up on defenders.
On the Instructions tab, select Sterling and on his support runs select ‘get in behind’. As for Rashford, you will want him to get closer to Harry Kane in attack, so as well getting in behind you should tell him to ‘cut inside’ on chance creation and ‘get into box for crosses’.
Harry Kane (91 finishing) is the obvious threat in this England side and you just need to get him the ball in goal scoring positions. To help you with this, change his support runs to ‘stay central’.
The key to getting the ball to your wide men and feeding Kane in attack will be Dele Alli. The attacking midfielder is great on the ball (84 ball control), and if he finds space you can unlock the opposition defence. Change Alli’s positioning freedom to ‘free roam’, and if you want to win the ball back quicker you could choose to put him on ‘aggressive interceptions’.
England start the World Cup with two pleasing ties against Tunisia and Panama, and you should be looking to be very attacking against the lesser opposition. The easy option is to switch to an attacking mentality on the D-pad, but you can also tell your full-backs to ‘always overlap’ with their attacking runs.
Against Belgium and the bigger sides you will face in the knockout stages, you will have to operate differently. You could revert to a five at the back system, but that does leave you short in midfield and attacking areas. Slide into a defensive mentality, and make sure at least one of your central midfielders, most likely Eric Dier, will ‘stay back while attacking’ and make ‘conservative interceptions’.
End the hurt
Now an England World Cup win is highly ambitious, and a trip to the quarterfinals should be your target as you start your campaign. England do have the capacity to defeat anyone on their day however, and if you can raise the confidence in topping your group and get Harry Kane firing, you can cause some surprises. Just take it one game at a time.
England squad player ratings
|Joe Hart||31||GK||West Ham||77|
|Kyle Walker||27||RWB CB||Manchester City||83|
|Phil Jones||26||CB||Manchester United||81|
|John Stones||23||CB||Manchester City||80|
|Chris Smalling||28||CB||Manchester United||80|
|Ashley Young||32||LWB RWB||Manchester United||79|
|Fabian Delph||28||LWB CM||Manchester City||79|
|Kieran Gibbs||28||LWB||West Brom||77|
|Dele Alli||22||CAM ST||Tottenham||83|
|Raheem Sterling||22||CAM ST||Manchester City||83|
|Jesse Lingard||25||CAM||Manchester United||80|
|Eric Dier||24||CDM CM||Tottenham||80|
|Jordan Henderson||27||CDM CM||Liverpool||80|
|Jack Wilshere||26||CM CAM||Arsenal||79|
|Ross Barkley||24||CAM CM||Chelsea||79|
|Alex Oxlade-Chamberlain||24||CM CAM RWB||Liverpool||78|
|Theo Walcott||29||CAM ST||Everton||78|
|Ruben Loftus-Cheek||22||CAM CM||Crystal Palace||76|
|Jake Livermore||28||CM CDM||West Brom||76|
|Marcus Rashford||20||ST||Manchester United||81|
|Daniel Sturridge||81||ST||West Brom||80|