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The Independent UK
The Independent UK
Jack Rathborn

England’s route to the World Cup final: Who do Three Lions play if they beat France?

Getty Images

Gareth Southgate’s England squad will be hoping to make it back-to-back finals in major international competitions - and this time go one step better and lift the trophy.

Four years ago the Three Lions reached the semi-finals of the 2018 World Cup as the upturn in international fortunes began under Southgate, before they went the distance to the final at Euro 2020. Now in Qatar the objective will remain the same, to end the long wait since 1966 for success on the biggest stage.

Three matches in the group phase were safely negotiated as they topped Group B and now three further knock-out fixtures must be navigated before the trophy is up for grabs on 18 December at the 80,000-seater Lusail Stadium.

England navigated the qualifiers with ease to reach Qatar, winning eight and drawing two to finish ahead of Poland, Albania, Hungary, Andorra and San Marino. But many of those matches were merely opportunities for Southgate and his coaches to put early plans in place and get an idea of how the team can continue to be built in the pursuit of success this winter.

Here is the route England must now take to reach the World Cup final for the first time in over 50 years, and the sides they’ll face along the way.

Group B final standings

  1. England 7 pts
  2. USA 5 pts
  3. Iran 3 pts
  4. Wales 1 pt

As England won Group B:


As winners of Group B, England faced the runner-up from Group A in Senegal in the last 16. After an awkward start, the Three Lions were excellent as they swept the champions of Africa aside. Jordan Henderson, Harry Kane and Bukayo Saka were on target in the 3-0 win.


After beating Senegal, England will play France in the quarter-finals. The defending champions topped Group C as expected and defeated Poland 3-1 to reach the last-eight. England vs France will be on Saturday 10 December at 7pm GMT.


The winners of Group F and Group H could find their way to the semi-finals to meet England should they get this far. Morocco stunned Spain to reach the quarter-finals, and could become the first team from Africa to reach the semi-finals of the World Cup if they beat the winner of Portugal-Switzerland in the other side of the draw.

If England make it through to the semi-finals, it will be at 7pm GMT on Wednesday 14 December.


After seeing off the best of Europe to reach the final, England may have to play the kings of South America in order to win the World Cup. Brazil and Argentina are in line to meet in the semi-finals in what would be an epic clash in Lusail on Tuesday 13 December, though we’ve already had plenty of shocks and more could yet follow. The final is on Sunday 18 December at 3pm GMT.


Via Betfair

Brazil 23/10

France 11/2

Spain 13/2

Argentina 7/1

England 8/1

Portugal 11/1

Netherlands 11/1

Croatia 35/1

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