Alan Shearer has been discussing the imminent World Cup finals and what is expected of England.
Russia v Saudi Arabia kicks off at 4pm on Thursday to set the competition away, with England set to face Tunisia at 7pm on Monday night.
Gareth Southgate’s players then take on Panama at 1pm the following Sunday (24 June) and the final group game is Belgium on the Thursday (28 June) at 7pm.
With England you don’t exactly have the bar set very high when it comes to success, the Euros in 2016 produced poor draws with Slovakia and Russia, with the only win being a fortunate 2-1 victory over Wales, trailing to the Welsh and only an injury time goal bringing victory.
England tend to always exit tournaments as soon as they meet a decent team in the knockout stages but this time they managed it against Iceland.
Alan Shearer describes that as ‘pretty embarrassing’ and wants no repeat.
His definition of success for England in Russia isn’t winning the trophy or indeed coming anywhere near it, rather he is just expecting the squad to ‘have given everything’ and to at least get out of the group, though he thinks it will prove more difficult than people think it is going to be.
With no goals in four appearances in those 2016 Euros, Alan Shearer also believes there is a lot of pressure on Harry Kane to prove himself at this tournament, on top of his form in club football.
As for a likely winner of the tournament, the Newcastle legend goes for Brazil.
Alan Shearer talking to BBC Sport:
“I cannot make a case for us (England) winning it, or reaching the final.
“I also don’t think it will be as easy for us to get out of our group as everyone seems to believe either, but I do expect us to do that.
“What I want to see is improvement from two years ago, which should not be too difficult because the way we went out of Euro 2016 against Iceland was pretty embarrassing.
“If we can come away having given everything then I will be happy and I think the majority of fans will be too.
“It is a huge tournament for Harry Kane, especially because he struggled in France.
“He is already known around Europe but to put himself on a world stage he has to perform this summer.”