England’s best and worst routes to the World Cup final with Mbappe, Messi and Ronaldo awaiting the Southgate boys in Qatar

ENGLAND now know their possible path to ending 56 years of World Cup pain after the Qatar 2022 knockout draw is complete – and may have to face three of the best players along the way.

South Korea and Switzerland joined Portugal and Brazil on Friday to secure their places in the last 16.

England knows their possible path to the World Cup title

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England knows their possible path to the World Cup titlePhoto credit: Getty
Gareth Southgate is hoping to lead his men to Lusail Stadium on December 18

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Gareth Southgate is hoping to lead his men to Lusail Stadium on December 18Photo credit: Getty

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The wheat has been separated from the chaff and now the wallcharts look perfectly set up and ready for the drama of knockout tournament football.

Here’s how Gareth Southgate and the Three Lions fans in Qatar and at home can find out how their games might be shaping up over the next two weeks.

SunSport have reviewed and mapped out the best and worst scenarios for England’s road to stardom…

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Quarter-finals v France, Saturday 10 December, 7pm, Al Bayt Stadium

England led Group B, which sparked a round of 16 clash with Group A runners-up Senegal.

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England knocked out Senegal in the round of 16

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England knocked out Senegal in the round of 16Credit: PA

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Gareth Southgate’s side tamed the Lions of Terenga – they won 3-0 thanks to goals from Jordan Henderson, Harry Kane and Bukayo Saka.

On Saturday night, however, they will be put to the test in the quarter-finals against defending champions France.

Quarter-finals, Sat. December 10, 7 p.m., Al Bayt Stadium

Didier Deschamp’s side secured their place in the final with a 3-1 win over Poland – with a brace from Kylian Mbappe and a record Olivier Giroud goal doing the damage.

Kylian Mbappe is in red-hot form and wants to lead France back to full glory

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Kylian Mbappe is in red-hot form and wants to lead France back to full gloryPhoto credit: Getty
PSG score twice in France's round of 16 match against Poland

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PSG score twice in France’s round of 16 match against PolandCredit: AP

And despite the surprise defeat by Tunisia in the last group game, Les Bleus appear to have a solid chance of defending their title.

Semifinals, Wednesday 14 December, 7pm, Al Bayt Stadium

Another knockout game, another trip to the Al Bayt if England finish in the last four by beating France.

There, the worst case scenario would be Cristiano Ronaldo’s Portugal or a Spanish side beating Costa Rica to a seven.

Both teams have recent experience of winning trophies and would have the confidence to go all the way if they reached the semi-finals.

Cristiano Ronaldo would certainly like to pacify some of his ex-United team-mates in a potential semi-final

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Cristiano Ronaldo would certainly like to pacify some of his ex-United team-mates in a potential semi-finalPhoto credit: Reuters
Spain has a strong mix of youthful quality and experienced minds

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Spain has a strong mix of youthful quality and experienced mindsPhoto credit: Getty

Spain meet surprise package Morocco in the round of 16 after missing out on top spot after losing to Japan.

Portugal, meanwhile, meets Switzerland in the second round – with the Swiss being arguably the weakest team in this quarter.

Narrow victories against Cameroon and Serbia advanced the Swiss, but they lack the firepower on offense and can be particularly targeted by the Three Lions’ wingers.

Finals, Sun. Dec. 18, 3 p.m., Lusail Stadium

The World Cup final, the biggest game in football, and England are just three wins away.

If the Three Lions can prove to be the best of the group in the bottom half of the draw, they’ll book their showpiece event seat and a first trip to the now 89,000-seat Lusail Stadium.

The worst case scenario, let’s face it, would be pre-tournament favorites Brazil or Argentina.

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Will Lionel Messi add the World Cup to his trophy cabinet?

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Will Lionel Messi add the World Cup to his trophy cabinet?Photo credit: Getty
Brazil's squad is packed with incredible talent

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Brazil’s squad is packed with incredible talentCredit: PA

Brazil probably have the best squad at the World Cup, but despite two wins in the group, many did not expect them to be at their swashbuckling best.

Argentina, aka Lionel Messi and Mates, suffered that shock early loss to Saudi Arabia but bounced back to beat Mexico and Poland and progress safely.

They are expected to meet in a blockbuster semi-final from South America on December 13th.

Brazil need to get past South Korea and then Japan or Croatia, while Argentina take on Australia in the round of 16 before Holland or the USA play in the quarters.

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It would be a big surprise if it wasn’t the semi-final between Brazil and Argentina – and it’s too hard to say at the moment who would win that.

The weakest sides in this half of the draw are likely to be USA or Australia – while England would certainly see their chances against the Netherlands, South Korea, giant killers Japan and Croatia as 2018 revenge.

https://www.the-sun.com/sport/6831106/england-best-worst-world-cup-final-messi-ronaldo/ England’s best and worst routes to the World Cup final with Mbappe, Messi and Ronaldo awaiting the Southgate boys in Qatar

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