A FIFTH of England’s supporters believe that football will finally come home again next year in Qatar, according to a new study.
Gareth Southgate’s side suffered heartbreak two months ago when they were defeated by Italy on penalties in the final of Euro 2020.
Gareth Southgate takes England to Hungary tonight for their next World Cup qualifier[/caption]
A fifth of fans believe that the Three Lions will go all the way at Qatar 2022[/caption]
But despite that agonising loss, more than one in five fans believe the Three Lions will go one better by winning the World Cup next year.
And the YouGov survey of more than 1,000 UK football fans for Betfair also revealed that the same number also say that only England winning the trophy in 2022 would make it a successful tournament in their eyes.
England head to Budapest tonight looking to stretch their unbeaten start to their World Cup qualification against Hungary.
They then return to Wembley to take on Andorra on Sunday before jetting to Poland on Wednesday to finish their crunch week of action.
And after their heroics at the Euros, it seems that more supporters than normal will be tuning in.
The survey also discovered that 25 per cent of fans are more likely to watch England’s qualifiers than in years gone by.
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With the majority claiming to be looking forward to the upcoming qualifiers, there is also a new optimism about the national team with two-thirds of England fans saying the current squad is the best since 1966.
Meanwhile, 87 per cent of those questioned believe that Southgate is the man to manage England in Qatar – and if the Three Lions fail to win, almost 80% still think he should remain manager.
Steven Gerrard was the favoured answer by fans surveyed (14%) to be the next England boss, ahead of Brendan Rodgers (12%) and Pep Guardiola (11%).
Manchester City’s £100m man Jack Grealish is the player most believe will be England’s best in Qatar (18%), ahead of Raheem Sterling (12%) and Harry Kane (10%) while a whopping 84% believe Grealish should start in England’s next qualifiers despite often starting from the bench during the Euros.
Of the players who didn’t make Euros, 39% want to see Mason Greenwood at the 2022 World Cup, followed by Jesse Lingard (32%) and Patrick Bamford (22%).
Despite a protracted summer of transfer speculation, 66% of England fans polled still think Harry Kane should be captain – but if not Kane, Harry Maguire is the overwhelming choice on 44%.
However, appetite for the tournament itself – the first ever winter World Cup – saw less than one in five fans surveyed saying they’d travel to Qatar if they had the means.
Betfair spokesman Sam Rosbottom said: “With international football back on our radar so soon after the end of the Euros, our survey aimed to get to the bottom of how confident England fans are in winning their first World Cup since 1966 after such a promising run to the final earlier this summer.
“The answers showed that while there is definitely more optimism and interest, with one in five believing England will win the World Cup.
“Current Betfair odds make England a 15/2 shot alongside Italy, with France the 5/1 favourites ahead of Brazil at 11/2 and Germany at 7/1.
“More than a year out we are also bringing back our ‘Football’s Coming Home-o-Meter’ based on the Betfair Exchange World Cup winners market, which currently gives England a 12% chance of lifting the trophy in Qatar.”
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