World Cup: Gareth Southgate determined to bring World Cup joy to England fans

Gareth Southgate wants to bring World Cup joy to the nation at a challenging time by leading England on another “memorable” journey.

Having reached the semi-finals in Russia four years ago and finished as Euro 2020 runners-up, the Three Lions are among the favourites to triumph this winter in Qatar.

But the heat is on Southgate after England were relegated from the Nations League top tier during a six-match winless run they will hope to end in today game against Iran.

Clashes against the United States and Wales quickly follow.

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“Look, our challenge is to give our supporters a tournament that’s memorable,” Southgate said on the eve of the Iran game at the Khalifa International Stadium.

“We’ve taken them on fantastic journeys in our last two tournaments, and we want to bring (them on another).

“Our country is going also through a difficult spell – not the same as some of the other countries around the world at the moment but we’re in the middle of an economic recession and life has been difficult for a lot of our people.

“So, we want them to enjoy their football and have a journey with the team that brings some real happiness.”

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England met up on Monday and jetted out to Qatar the following day, with James Maddison the only player ruled out against Iran as he recovers from a knee issue.

“Everybody is available bar James Maddison for tomorrow,” Southgate said.

“It’s a little bit early for Kyle Walker but he is training with the team, so that’s ahead of where we thought he might be at this stage. Very positive.”