England out of the World Cup? | Who to support if it doesn’t come home

When/if England are knocked out of the World Cup too soon, here's our guide for which other nation is most worthy of support.

Southgate England Out

The World Cup is on, and it’s coming home. The England team kicked off by thrashing Iran 6-2, teeing up Shearer and Lineker to toy with that familiar siren song from the commentary box. An England team we haven’t seen for a long time. Off to a flying start. The momentum shows no sign of stopping. They just might do it.

But I take my queue from George Will on these matters; it’s better to be a pessimist because you’re either pleasantly surprised or always right. So, with that in mind, let’s consider who we should support if England fails to shake the habit of a lifetime.


world cup countries ranked france mbappe

The reigning champs celebrate in 2018

Let’s be frank, clashing swords with France is so central to the English identity that it might as well be part of the citizenship test. The cross-Channel rivalry is as ancient as it is fierce and has been characterised by more wars than an English longbowman could shake his two fingers at. The enmity extends to the English breakfast against the continental, Paris against London, and not smelling like garlic versus smelling like garlic. There is no more room for quarter to be given on the pitch than on the breakfast table.

READ MORE: World Cup countries ranked… by democracy


The Aussies are strong contenders to carry our torch should we fall. Theirs is a country founded by British convicts, after all. In a sense, Australia is defined by some as England in the sun. That’s why so many of us move there. Like our Royal Family and us, they speak our language and oblige with their cheap wine exports and Tim Tams. I’m not happy that they invented Fosters, the second worst beer of all time, but I do herby decree they be forgiven and more for the battle of Beersheba and Crocodile Dundee. Though after a 4-1 beatdown at the hands of our French foes, I won’t be getting my hopes up that they’ll be able to go all the way.


england usa football team 2022

The USMNT ahead of their match against Wales

The USA should live in infamy for exporting Bud Light, which narrowly bats away Fosters to nab the top spot on the podium of crap beers. And this is not to mention their treasonous revolt against our King George III. I’m not deaf to the fact they saved us in both world wars, but I begrudge that Hollywood thinks only the Americans fought in them. Frankly, though, that pales in comparison to their insistence on referring to the sport as soccer, an obnoxious deviation from the mother tongue an Australian could not conceive of. Support for the USA can only be countenanced if they play Qatar, France, Argentina or Belgium.

READ MORE: World Cup fans say winner of England vs. USA must exile James Corden


world cup countries ranked argentina messi maradona

Lionel Messi and Diego Maradona

The first directive of the English football team should be to beat the Argentinians on every occasion. That’s not a tall order; they just lost to Saudi Arabia 2-1 and only beat us in the 1986 World Cup because they cheated. We all know Ronaldo is better than Messi, and we can’t be seen to be cheering on the South American side. But I do give one exception – the event of an Argentina v France final, in which case the enemy of my enemy is my friend.


world cup countries ranked germany

Ah, the Germans. A tough call, given history, but they’ve been well-behaved in recent times. Their penchant for beating England in penalties is frustrating, but you’ve got to respect it. And despite the inevitable cries of world wars and one World Cup, Germany has won the tournament four times. We only managed to squeak it out against West Germany in 1966, when half of their country was on the bench essentially. Putting to one side the more recent rivalry, they did put the Saxon in Anglo-Saxon, so I wouldn’t begrudge a chant of five World Cups if Germany makes it to the final and England doesn’t.

READ MORE: England vs USA | Everything you need to know ahead of the World Cup contest


world cup countries ranked denmark

Denmark celebrate winning the 1992 European Championship’s Final after a 2-0 victory against Germany at the Ullevi Stadium on June 26, 1992 in Gothenburg, Sweden.

The English and the Danes clashed last year on the pitch, with England securing a 2-1 win over the Scandinavian side. The Euros victory provided ample satisfaction for the erstwhile Vikings’ transgression into Lindisfarne and beyond and that those old grudges can now be parked. It’s been good to see Christian Eriksen back and in fine form, and long may it continue, but if we want the Danish team to lead the charge on our behalf, they’ll have to do better than their nil-nil draw against Tunisia on Tuesday.


world cup countries ranked japan

An honourable mention must go to Japan, who freshly emerge from a 2-1 victory over the Germans. The underdogs came back from being a goal down to cause one of the biggest footballing upsets in recent history. They might not be a top team in technical terms, but they wanted to win and left nothing on the field. I can’t help but respect Japan’s one-track focus on the game and winning it, making them strong contenders to win my heart if it doesn’t, in the end, come home.

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