After overseeing impressive international gains, from a World Cup semi-final in 2018, to a European championship final in 2021, Gareth Southgate will have English hopes behind him as his side seeks to go one further and lift the World Cup in Qatar this November.
Despite a poor Nations League campaign, which saw them relegated to League B, England are among the favourites for the tournament, along with five-time winners Brazil, and incumbent champions France. The Three Lions should progress as winners from Group B – where they will face Iran, United States, and Wales.
But Southgate has a number of selection headaches before the team travel to Qatar to begin their preparations from their base at the Saoud bin Abdulrahman Stadium after relegation from Nations League A Group 3.
The 2022 World Cup kicks off on November 20 when hosts Qatar will play Ecuador at 4pm GMT. Here is all you need to know in advance of the first-ever winter World Cup.
Group stage fixtures
All times in GMT
England vs Iran: 1pm, Monday, November 21 (Khalifa International Stadium, Al Rayyan)
United States vs Wales: 7pm, Monday, November 21 (Ahmad bin Ali Stadium, Al Rayyan)
England vs United States: 7pm, Friday, November 25 (Al Bayt Stadium, Al Khor)
Wales vs Iran: 10am, Friday, November 25 (Ahmad bin Ali Stadium, Al Rayyan)
Wales vs England: 7pm, Tuesday, November 29 (Ahmad bin Ali Stadium, Al Rayyan)
Iran vs United States: 7pm, Tuesday, November 29 (Al Thumama Stadium, Doha)
What is the latest injury news?
The last few weeks have seen the knocks, tears and strains heap up, with England's defensive ranks most stricken John Stones injured his hamstring whilst playing for England, while Kyle Walker had groin injury and Reece James has a protective knee brace after he went down during Chelsea's 2-0 win against AC Milan in the Champions League.
Southgate's defensive headaches continued when Ben Chilwell was added to England's injury woes after being ruled out of the tournament with a hamstring injury suffered in the last minute of stoppage time during Chelsea's Champions League victory over Dinamo Zagreb.
Harry Maguire only just back from injury and needing to rediscover his form and confidence quickly ahead of the World Cup which begins on November 20th.
Elsewhere, Manchester City boss Pep Guardiola has tipped Kalvin Phillips to make the World Cup after the midfielder suffered a dislocated shoulder which required surgery. The 26-year-old sustained the injury during Manchester City's friendly in the Camp Nou.
However, some positive for the England manager as Bukayo Saka as allayed World Cup fears by making a quick recovery for Arsenal after picking up a knock against Nottingham Forest on October 30th.
The winger limped out of the action in the first half after a series of heavy challenges at the Emirates.
England's Group B opponents
Wales reached the World Cup finals in dramatic style via the qualifying play-offs, after beating an impassioned Ukraine side in Cardiff in June. Victory for Wales' talent-studded golden generation booked them a trip to the nation's first World Cup finals since 1958, their second ever
The United States also make their return to the tournament after an absence, albeit a less protracted one. After failing to make it to Russia in 2018, USA came third in CONCACAF qualifiers to secure their place in Qatar. More so than ever, team players will be familiar to Premier League fans, due to the league's recent influx of American players, including Tyler Adams and Brenden Aaronson at Leeds, Antonee Robinson at Fulham, and national captain Christian Pulisic, who plays for Chelsea.
Whilst Wales and the USA could cause group upset and jostle for runners-up spot, Iran are the underdogs of Group B. Although a Fifa ranking of 22 suggests they are by no means one of the weakest sides in the competition statistically, preparations have been marred by infighting while head coach Dragan Skocic has been replaced by former boss Carlos Queiroz, who oversaw the team's group stage knock-out in Russia.
World Cup schedule
If England win Group B
The winners of Group B will play the runners-up of Group A - Qatar, Holland, Ecuador, and Senegal - with the Afcon winners their most likely opponents.
France are favourites to win Group D, over Australia, Tunisia and Australia, and would face the Group C runner-up out of Argentina, Saudi Arabia, Mexico or Poland to win the chance to face England in the quarter-finals, should Southgate's men make it out of the last-16 knock-out round.
If England reached the semi-finals, they could meet either Belgium or Portugal, strong contenders in Group F and H, and a potential final could see England meet Spain, Brazil, or Germany the World Cup final.
If England finish as runners-up in Group B
This would set up a clash between the winner of Group A, and if England were to beat Netherlands, they could have the chance to face Argentina or Denmark in the quarter-finals.
In this scenario, should England make it to the semi-finals, their opponents might be one of either Spain, Germany, or Brazil, the cream of the crop from Groups E and G, to set up a possible final against France, Belgium, or Portugal in Lusail.
The first two quarter-finals will take place on Friday, December 9, at 3pm, and will be played at Education City Stadium and Lusail Iconic Stadium. The remaining quarter-finals are on Saturday, December 10, at 3pm and 7pm, and will be played at Al Thumama Stadium and Al Bayt Stadium.
The semi-finals will take place on Tuesday, December 13 and Wednesday, December 14, at Lusail Iconic Stadium and Al Bayt Stadium, with both matches taking place at 7pm.
The World Cup final will take place on Sunday, December 18 at 3pm at Lusail Iconic Stadium.
Who is in the England squad?
Southgate is expected to announce his England squad on or before October 20, 30 days before the start of the tournament, and the final deadline for all 32 teams to confirm their 26-man squads travelling to Qatar.