Gareth Southgate..

How England fared when Football Manager simulated the 2018 World Cup

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With the World Cup draw concluded and England taking residence in Group G, fans can start to dream ahead of next year's tournament. 

There was a mixed response to the Three Lions' draw with the presence of Belgium - boasting Kevin de Bruyne and Eden Hazard - posing a difficult task in Russia. Nevertheless, the inclusions of Panama and Tunisia will keep quiet optimism simmering away in the camp.

England still have a long to go, however, and it seems that expectations are lower than ever.

The role of expectation in the failure of the 'Golden Generation' has been aired by the likes of Rio Ferdinand and Frank Lampard recently so the current pessimism is perhaps a quiet positive.

Only the summer will tell how Southgate's young side will fare under the spotlight but perhaps the best predictive method in the mean time lays with Football Manager.

Aside from being thoroughly addictive and entertaining, the latest instalment of the game boasts an extensive database of players and teams that sees its forecast stand up to pundits and its rivals.

And, virtue of the Mirror, its been used to simulate next year's World Cup and it throws up some interesting results.


The Three Lions absolutely smashed it in the group stages with routine victories over Tunisia and Panama, before captivating the nation with an enthralling 3-2 win against Belgium.

England then traversed the challenge of Poland in the round of 16, winning 1-0, before suffering heartache at the hands of Brazil in the quarter finals.

England vs Brazil - International Friendly

Harry Kane finished as the Three Lions' top scorer with a total of three and Raheem Sterling was ranked as Southgate's best performer with an average match rating of 7.37.


France went all the way in Russia, claiming their second World Cup victory with a 2-0 defeat of Argentina in the final. They topped their group and downed England's conquerers Brazil in the final four.

Antoine Griezmann proved the danger man for Les Bleus with four goals and Paul Pogba finished the tournament as their best performer.


Golden Boot

Five goals were enough for Neymar to finish as the competition's top scorer - edging out the likes of Kane and Griezmann to the accolade.

Golden Ball

Ouch. For a second consecutive World Cup, Messi is handed the Golden Ball award despite finishing runner-up in the final once again. He amassed an impressive average match rating of 7.70.


Best match

The most entertaining fixture came in Group F with Mexico and Sweden contesting a thrilling 3-3 draw with West Ham's Javier Hernandez snatching a dramatic 83rd minute equaliser.

How far do you think England will go at next year's World Cup? Have your say in the comments section below.

Gareth Southgate
World Cup

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