England face ‘once in a lifetime’ game against Wales or Scotland at World Cup 2022


England could play one of their fellow home nations if they successfully get through a delayed play-off qualifier. The match has been put back to the summer due to the Russian invasion of Ukraine

Gareth Southgate ahead of the draw in Doha, Qatar
Gareth Southgate ahead of the draw in Doha, Qatar

England face a “once in a lifetime” historic game against Wales or ­Scotland in the finals of the 2022 World Cup.

In an extraordinary draw Gareth ­Southgate’s men could play one of their fellow home nations if they successfully get through a delayed play-off qualifier.

That qualifying match has been put back to the summer because of the Russian ­invasion of Ukraine.

Scotland play Ukraine and the winners face Gareth Bale’s Wales with the victors going to Qatar and playing in the World Cup.

Actor Idris Elba, sports presenter Reshmin Chowdhury, and Brazilian legend Cafu drew out England in Group B at the ceremony.







England is one of the Group B nations
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Image:

AFP via Getty Images)

The group is dripping with tension with the US and Iran filling the two other places. Britain has been at loggerheads with Iran for years – with British-Iranian detainee Nazanin Zaghari-Ratcliffe only freed from Iran last month.

And the US and Iran have had no formal diplomatic relations for decades.

The venues and dates for all the matches are set to be announced tomorrow.

Fans reacted with thrilled astonishment at the draw. Former Three Lions U18s captain in the 1970s Micky Fillery said: “You couldn’t make it up. This is a once in a life-time chance to play Scotland or Wales in the World Cup finals. Then there’s the US and Iran – my daughter-in-law is half Iranian… that will be a bit of fun in our family! England have got to be red-hot favourites to win all those games.”






Mirror reporter Andy Lines inside the Lusail Stadium where the World Cup Final will be played

But Welshman Steve Morgan, 65, of Maesteg, said he fancied their chances against England.

He said: “That’s a brilliant draw for Wales. But it’s a good group for all the home nations, whatever happens.” The match against the USA will put their star player Chelsea ’s Christian Pulisic face-to-face with teammates Mason Mount and Reece James.

FIFA organisers controversially used the Diego Maradona “Hand of God” goal in the first few minutes of the low-key ceremony in Doha, with Newcastle star Jermanine Jenas also appearing as one of the hosts.







Former Brazilian footballer and World Cup winner Cafu displays the name of England during the draw for the 2022 World Cup in Qatar
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Image:

AFP via Getty Images)

A tribute to Gordon Banks, Diego Maradona, Paulo Rossi and Gerd Muller who have all died since the last World Cup drew applause.

FIFA chief Gianni Infantino said: “This World Cup will simply be the best ever. The greatest show on earth.”

Acknowledging the Russian invasion of Ukraine he urged people to “come together in peace”.

Sunderland season ticket holder and MP for Easington Grahame Morris said: “England have been given a tough draw, but if you are going to win a World Cup you have to be able to beat anyone at any stage.







The World Cup Trophy
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Image:

AFP via Getty Images)

“The World Cup should be a festival of football but FIFA’s decision to award the competition to Qatar comes at the expense of workers’ rights and lives.”

Some reports claim 6,500 migrant workers have died in Qatar since it won the right to host the World Cup.

It emerged today that rainbow flags could be taken off fans to protect them from being attacked.






Andy Lines is reporting from Qatar

Major General Abdulaziz Abdullah Al Ansari insisted LGBTQ couples would be welcomed in Qatar for the FIFA showpiece event from November 21 to December 18, despite same-sex relations remaining criminalised in the Gulf nation.

But Maj Gen Al Ansari is against overt promotion of LGBTQ freedoms as symbolised by the rainbow flag.

“If he [a fan] raised the rainbow flag and I took it from him, it’s not because I really want to really take it, to really insult him, but to protect him. I cannot guarantee the behaviour of the whole people.”

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