This summer, 31 teams will join Russia for the 2018 World Cup. All of those teams will be looking to be crowned world champions. The tournament has been billed as the last time we’ll see Cristiano Ronaldo and Lionel Messi at a major event together. Others are even saying that this will be the time that Neymar stakes his claim to the throne. Apart from all the individual goals, there are teams as well looking to establish themselves on the international scene.

England has been considered a farce on the global stage for far too long. The 2018 World Cup offers them the chance to rectify that bogus status. If set up in the right way, the Three Lions could go all the way in Russia.

Here are three ways England can set up in the World Cup.  

3-5-2

To Gareth Southgate’s credit, the 47-year-old has shown much tactical versatility since becoming England manager. He’s shown that he’s willing to change formations depending on the opposition. In his short reign, he’s already played with 3 at the back on multiple occasions, producing quality performances against the best in the world.

Primarily, the 3-5-2 offers defensive solidity and midfield congestion, thus making the team hard to break down. This is a formation that well-drilled teams use to stifle the opposition while conducting finely-tuned counter attacks. In this system, the Three Lions would have no choice but to counter down the flanks, in which they’d have pacey wing-backs like Kyle Walker and Danny Rose. The 3-5-2 is the system England should revert to when playing teams of superior quality.

4-1-2-1-2

The 4-4-2 diamond is the epitome of creativity and intricate link-up play. Off the ball, the attacking-minded players revert into a more resolute shape but on the ball, they completely overload opposition defences through the middle.

The LCM and RCM positions are integral to the implementation of this system. These players must have a high work rate and great technical ability to contribute in all phases of play. Jack Wilshere, Adam Lallana & Jordan Henderson are all ideal candidates for the role. Then as a #10, England have Dele Alli or Raheem Sterling to occupy them. In a front two, Harry Kane and Jamie Vardy would be the perfect duo. Why? Harry Kane would drop deep to link up with midfielders, while on the counter-attack, Jamie Vardy could run in behind defences.

4-3-3

Many cite the 4-3-3 as the most balanced formation in football. Having a trio in midfield offers protection across the middle of the park, thus allowing a team to occupy all vertical zones. As well as having a congested midfield, the formation deploys a wide front three that can stretch opposition defences.

To maximise the effectiveness of the 4-3-3, the system requires two energetic box to box midfielders deployed on either side of a reserved holding midfielder. B2Bs like Jack Wilshere and Jordan Henderson both have the sufficient energy to execute the role.

In a 4-3-3, England would be the perfect counter-attacking machine that’d revert to a 4-5-1 off the ball.

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