Gareth Southgate had recaptured the hearts of many with his side’s deep runs in both the 2018 World Cup and 2021 Euros, though pre-World Cup form has faltered. Once up there with the favourites, England’s World Cup winning hopes are ranked as 15/2 longshots. That being said, the “It’s Coming Home” brigade will hopefully be in full flow into the latter stages of the World Cup, and with that, this stats pack will be too.
This article crunches all the numbers from an unstoppable World Cup Qualifying campaign where the Three Lions sealed top spot with absolute ease. I’ve done the digging and put together all the numbers for goals, shots, corners and cards to help you pick winning bet builders for every England game. If you need any assistance with your selections, check out my Stats Pack Guide for the ins and outs on stats pack winners.
World Cup qualification was easy meat for Gareth Southgate. Ten games, eight wins, and two draws. Thirty-nine (39!) goals at the right end, and just three (3!) at the wrong end.
They completely dominated their opponents in all departments, you’re not reading those numbers wrong. They managed 16.10 shots per game and 7.10 on target while their opponents managed just 3.80 and 1.30 respectively. The corners stats are shocking, England’s opposition managed less than a corner a game on average.
Their most recent numbers in the Nations League campaign were the other end of the spectrum though. Their opponents managed 1.67 goals a game while England were on just 0.67 as they slumped to 2 losses, 2 draws, and relegation. Yet they still outshone their opponents in other statistical measures.
Gareth Southgate is expected to lineup with 5 at the back despite calls for some interesting and attacking football.
In their World Cup Qualifiers, they in fact adopted a 4-3-3 over half the time (56.6%), a 4-2-3-1 for 19.6% of their games, and only the well-known 3-4-3 for 19.6% of appearances.
Southgate reverted to a 3-4-3 in the more recent Nations League and will unlikely sway from that decision against tough opponents.
After some great performances in the previous World Cup and Euro’s, Manchester United’s Harry Maguire and Luke Shaw are set to start despite hardly starting for their domestic sides.
Jude Bellingham and Phil Foden will be the experienced youngsters to watch in this starting lineup, while Bukayo Saka will be healthy competition for Sterling and will certainly get minutes.
The big news is that Chelsea full-backs Ben Chilwell and Reece James missed out of the World Cup with long term injuries, so Luke Shaw, Kieran Trippier or Trent Alexander-Arnold will deputise.
PLAYER SHOTS AND SHOTS ON TARGET
With England averaged 16.10 shots per game during their World Cup qualifiers against weak opposition, the sample size allows us to predict where the shot-takers will be coming from.
Although the strength of competitors will improve, Harry Kane will get his fair share of the shots. He averaged over 5 shots per 90, and he directed 57.7% of them onto the target.
Whoever starts at right-wing, whether that is Sterling or Saka is likely to get their space to pop off at goal. Saka and Sterling both averages over two attempts per 90 (2.70 and 2.42), while Saka steered 44.4% of them on goal.
Although 37% of England attacks were pushed down the left flank compared to just 29% down the right. That means Phil Foden (1.62 shots p/90) and Jude Bellingham (2.26 shots p/90) making runs from deep will be an attacking threat throughout the tournament.
To add to the threat from the left, crossing specialists Kieran Trippier and Trent Alexander-Arnold will help both Kane and Foden in the box. England averaged 14.6 crosses per 90 in the Qualifiers.
PLAYER GOALS AND ASSISTS
No player got close to that of Harry Kane in Group I, who managed 12 goals and 2 assists in just 8 appearances. The Golden Boot winner at the last World Cup scored 6 times, two goals clear of the next contender. 5 of those goals came in the group stages against Tunisia and Panama, and he will have his sights set on Iran and the USA in Qatar.
Perhaps a surprise name here is Harry Maguire, who was ticking off the goals at a striker’s rate. 4 goals in 6 appearances is some going for a centre-back.
Other than that, you can see that right-wingers Saka and Sterling managed to convert their shots into goals on several occasions, as the Arsenal starlet managed 3 while the Chelsea man notched twice, with both creating a goal in the process.
Tammy Abraham contributed to 3 goals in 4 and will be hoping for a call up, although Ivan Toney may now be first in line after his first international trip in the Nations League.
ENGLAND CARDS (FOR)
Defensively, England have been far from convincing and despite conceding only 3 goals in their qualifying campaign, they then went to concede 10 goals in 6 Nations League games to eventually be relegated.
That included a 4-0 loss to Hungary in which John Stones was dismissed after 2 yellow cards and Kyle Walker was also booked. Defenders Harry Maguire and Reece James were also booked in the Nations League.
In the World Cup Qualifiers, Maguire, and Stones both saw yellow while Tyrone Mings received two from the referee in just four outings. Each of them averaged over a foul per game and are up against the likes of Gareth Bale (Wales) and Mehdi Taremi (Iran).
Declan Rice has been deployed as the defensive midfielder in Southgate’s midfield 2 to allow Bellingham to surge forward. That’s why he managed a booking in the Qualifiers too.
One to watch is also Harry Kane. Despite just 1 card in 8 World Cup qualifiers, he has been on something of a streak domestically, and has received 4 cards in his first 13 games.
ENGLAND CARDS (AGAINST)
Whenever we talk about fouls being drawn, Jack Grealish is the star candidate. His tricky dribbling is tough to negotiate and often leads to a foul. He was fouled 4.31 times per 90 in the qualifiers.
For City, him and Phil Foden are the leading foul drawers (2.41 p/90 and 1.36 p/90 respectively), and that is in large part due to the number of dribbles they attempt. Grealish attempts 3.15 per 90 minutes of playtime while Foden averages 2.39.
Whoever starts on the left for England is likely to cause some distress for the opposition right back, and Jude Bellingham’s (1.61 fouler p/90) runs from deep are likely to add to their woes. DeAndre Yedlin (USA), Connor Roberts (Wales) and Sadegh Moharrami (Iran) are in line in the groups.
On the right, Sterling and Saka were both fouled over twice per 90, and they both maintain high numbers for Chelsea and Arsenal. Sterling is fouled 1.25 times p/90 and attempts 3.65 dribbles p/90 while Saka goes even better with 1.55 and 3.91 respectively. Up against the USA’s Antonee Robinson is one to watch, given he’s managed 3 cards in 11 Fulham appearances.