England could be considered as “the biggest favourite” for the 2022 World Cup, according to former Three Lions manager Sven-Goran Eriksson.
Gareth Southgate’s team reached the semi-finals at Russia 2018, matching England’s best effort at a World Cup since they triumphed on home soil in 1966.
England then made their first major tournament final appearance since 1966 when they faced Italy in a Euro 2020 showdown last year, only to lose on penalties.
Eriksson managed England at the 2002 and 2006 World Cups, reaching the quarter-finals of each tournament respectively, while also getting to the last eight at Euro 2004.
Beaten by Brazil in 2002, and Portugal at the following two tournaments, Eriksson was unable to guide England’s ‘golden generation’ to success.
But the Swede believes Southgate’s team have earned the right to be considered among the favourites – and, indeed, the frontrunner overall – to succeed in Qatar later this year.
Eriksson told Stats Perform: “I think they are one of the big teams who can win, and maybe they are the biggest favourite.
“I’m not sure how strong Brazil and Argentina are in this moment, but in Europe, Italy [are] not there. Spain, I don’t think they are good enough to win it too. Germany, you never know they could do it. Belgium, always a good team.”
Eriksson also believes England should easily progress from Group B, in which they have been drawn alongside Iran, the United States and one of Ukraine, Scotland or Wales.
“The group with England, Iran, United States and then it’s Ukraine Scotland or Wales. I mean, it’s always difficult in the World Cup, but I can’t see them not winning that group,” Eriksson added.
“That’s impossible. They will win it easily. And then it depends always, who are you going to meet next stage, and then if you win there you go to the quarter-final.
“So, a little bit of luck there and no injuries, important players and so on and England can do it.”