England are now just one week away from their next international fixture when they take on Iran for their first World Cup group stage match. Their last international outing was their Nations League meet against Germany.
After a string of poor performances that saw them knocked out of the Nations League, the three Lions finally ended their open time goalless streak by netting three past the experienced Manuel Neuer in what ended up as a 3-3 draw against Germany. This was a much needed result for England who had previously lost 3-0 to Italy - a team that could not even reach the World Cup.
With their recent run of mixed results, it is hard to predict how they will fare when they have a whole two months apart before they reunite to take on Iran.
This is unusual for the national teams as they will usually compete in friendlies to allow the side to gel again and prepare for the rigours of major international tournament football.
When is England’s next fixture?
England’s next international match will be against Iran for the first World Cup group stage fixtures. They will play on Monday 21 November 2022 and kick-off is set for 1pm GMT.
Why is there no friendlies before the World Cup?
England’s Nations Leagu fixture against Germany their final test before the World Cup - meaning there will be eight weeks before they play together again.
The reason for this is pretty simple: there is just no time for any friendlies ahead of the tournament, given the already hectic schedule caused by the unique timing of the competition.
The World Cup is usually hosted in summer, leaving plenty of time for preparation following the season’s conclusion. However this year’s tournament will begin mid-season - only eight days after the Premier League comes to a halt.
FIFA only secured a seven-day mandatory release period before the tournament kicks off and Gareth Southgate‘s men are intending on flying straight out to Qatar to acclimatise to the hot temperatures - leaving them no time for pre-tournament friendlies.
This is very different to last year’s Euros tournament, where the Three Lions faced Austria and Romania in friendlies the week before their group-stage opener against Croatia.
In fact, England haven’t actually played in a friendly since their 3-0 win over Ivory Coast in March - making it even trickier for Southgate to give chances to his fringe players and change the line-up around.
Southgate’s players are likely to be even more affected by the lack of preparation and time between Premier League matches and the World Cup, with the English top flight having more matches in the season than most other leagues. The death of Queen Elizabeth II and the resulting match postponements has added further difficulties in completing the 2022/23 English domestic season.
When is the Premier League break?
The final matchweek of the Premier League before it breaks for the World Cup is 12th/13th November. It will then pause for around six weeks before it resumes on Boxing Day - eight days after the World Cup final.
This means if England were to reach the final then they would have the same break after the World Cup as they did prior - leaving little time to recover before getting back into the swing of league football.
We could certainly see this having a negative impact on teams that have a number of international players - such as Man City, Spurs and Chelsea - while other clubs with fewer players at the World Cup could take advantage of that in the second half of the campaign.
The Championship will also take a break for the World Cup and will pause on the same weekend as the top tier, however it is set to resume on 10th December - before the World Cup semi-finals get under way the following week.