It was comfortable in the end but England have now qualified for Russia 2018. We can all sit back and look ahead to the draw in December knowing we are guaranteed a place at next year’s festival of football. Even though it was one of the easiest qualifying groups we’ve ever had for any major tournament we should still be proud that we got through the campaign undefeated.
Late goals from Harry Kane saved us a couple of times and we also so some assured performances from England newcomers like Marcus Rashford and Harry Winks. With the Under 20s and Under 17s both winning their respective World Cups in recent months there is a hope among England fans that some of those players will graduate to the Senior squad in the next few years and help us to global success at the top level. While most of them will not be included next summer we are reliant on the current crop of youngsters who make up the senior team.
Many of England’s players are enjoying success with their clubs in the season’s Champions League such as Harry Kane and Deli Alli fresh from a comprehensive victory over holders Real Madrid. Kyle Walker and Raheem Sterling are also playing regularly in a very strong Manchester City team along withe Phil Jones and Marcus Rashford across the city at Man United. These are key players who will be going into the tournament next year with vital high level experience.
The month of June next year will be filled with football coming out of Russia which is one of the biggest countries in the world – spanning eight time zones. Once the draw has been made then Gareth Southgate can start planning for getting us out of the group stages. In the meantime, we have friendly matches this week against Germany and Brazil, two teams that would have high opes of winning the tournament next summer.