England – Tactical Analysis: FIFA WC 2022

England – Tactical Analysis: FIFA WC 2022

  • Tactics
  • December 8, 2022
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England will soon face their toughest test yet when they play France. Although Southgate’s side came into the tournament without much hype riding on them with regards to their performances in the UEFA Nations League, their recent form says anything but. 4 games in Qatar later; the three lions are unbeaten, having scored 12 and conceding just 2 goals.

England’s tactics are not something that is very hard to dissect. As said in football, any system that brings results is a working system. Gareth Southgate’s set-up helps to minimize his team’s flaws and maximize opportunities where their strengths can be put to their best use.

In Possession

England’s best trait is their versatility and ability to combine in attack. Usually setting up in a 4-2-3-1 with Kane leading the lane; the methodology of attack has changed gears when compared with their 2018 campaign in Russia.

Here, Kane is played in a rather deeper role. He’s granted freedom to drop off and engage in build-up and creation. It would not be absurd to call him as arguably England’s best ‘10’ and ‘9’. Kane’s passing range, timing, and weight of the pass are exquisite and add impeccable efficiency to England’s attack both in scoring and creative aspects.

The 4-2-3-1 shape shifts to a 2-3-5 in attack with both full-backs pushing high and midfielders joining the attack & Rice screening the defense. But this is not the only variation. It can also be the wingers tucking in and giving the FB’s the flanks to dominate; owing to Shaw’s and Trippier/Walker’s exceptional timing and understanding of when to overlap or underlap.

Combining with either of the midfielders who drop to the side as the build-up gets concentrated gives two major advantages to England. First, numerical advantage on the wing; as the play gets concentrated it usually ends up as a 3v2 on the wing from where England are good at breaking from. Secondly, it also provides yards of area for the winger on the opposite side (usually Rashford) to run and play into.

Bellingham and Mount’s ability to identify gaps and occupy them in the box is top-notch as well. Usually arriving as a late or early run, they tend to find themselves unmarked in the box often. 

Out of Possession 

England haven’t been tested out of possession as much as they have kept around an average of 65% of the ball in the 4 games they have played. Although, still their pressing systems stand out. 

England presses both zonally and man to man depending on the opponent. They press high in both scenarios with more emphasis on counter-pressing and winning the ball high up rather than absorbing pressure by dropping off. 

So far, England have opted for man-marking set-ups when the opponent seems to struggle from playing out from the back. When the opponents are expected to play through the first line, England tend to drop slightly more and opt for a more zonal marking system, which is usually based on pressing triggers and followed by quick and ferocious transitions, if the ball is won back.



England’s tactical set up under Gareth Southgate is progressive & they’re a very well-drilled side, with a sturdy defense and lethal star-studded attack that can do damage to any opposition on their day.

The Three Lions have performed admirably at this World Cup and are perhaps a side that can exorcise the ghosts of past tournaments and maybe reach the final.

However, playing a knockout tie against a side like France might test them a bit more than they have been so far. Only time will tell how Southgate’s England perform under pressure, but in retrospect, this has been a solid World Cup run for the Three Lions.

Also read: Brazil – Tactical Analysis: FIFA WC 2022

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