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England would have won three World Cups in a row if we’d played 3-4-2-1

A 3-4-2-1 formation would have been the perfect fit for England's 'Golden Generation' between 2002 and 2010

This isn’t one of those opinion pieces where we gently try and coerce you into agreeing with us.

Nope. What we’re about to say is fact. As nailed on as England drawing 0-0 with Panama in the 2018 World Cup group stages.

If England had played a 3-4-2-1 formation between 2002 and 2010 we’d have won three consecutive World Cups.


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Nothing to do with 3-4-2-1, just a beautiful World Cup shot

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Nothing to do with 3-4-2-1, just a beautiful World Cup shot

Obviously we can’t just drop a statement like that without dishing out some proof to go alongside it.

So here you are, friends.

All the proof you could ever need and more with an added splash of vindaloo, Seaman’s ponytail and Goldenballs.

All bow down to David’s holy ponytail

Reuters
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All bow down to David’s holy ponytail

2002 World Cup

We all know what happened on 21 June 2002. Ronaldinho lobbed Seaman from 40-yards to send England packing.

But in a 3-4-2-1 formation Paul Scholes would never have made the foul on Kleberson that allowed Ronaldinho a free shot at goal.

He would have had a back three of Rio Ferdinand, Sol Campbell and Gareth Southgate screaming at him to shield the pass, with midfield partner Nicky Butt doubling up to win the ball back.

After we’d seen out Brazil’s harmless attack our two no.10s, Joe Cole and David Beckham, would have taken the game by the scruff of the neck allowing Michael Owen to score the winner.

From there it would have been an inevitable march to the final, with wing-backs Gary Neville, who’d miraculously recovered from a pre-tournament injury, and Ashley Cole flying up and down the flanks.

Sven would have been knighted and we’d have Emile Heskey Day every year, dedicated to the man who scored the winner in the final.

Majestic

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Majestic

2006 World Cup

England’s 2006 World Cup winners are even stronger than the previous crop.

John Terry is in for Southgate meaning we’re finally able to fit him in the same team as Cambpell and Rio.

‘But how are you going to play Frank Lampard and Steven Gerrard in the same side?’ we hear you tweet.

Owen Hargreaves comes into the midfield, convincing Scholes to put off his international retirement and freeing up Lamps and Stevie G to play in their preferred attacking midfield positions.

A young Wayne Rooney, whose metatarsals are stronger than ever, bounds about up top, leaving Beckham, Owen, Cole, Peter Crouch and Michael Carrick to spring off the bench when needed.

We’d only concede one goal, which would happen when David James gets bored of having nothing to do and heads out of his box for a stroll.

No one is beating that XI

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No one is beating that XI

2010 World Cup

In this magic world of ours Sven would be staying on for another World Cup campaign meaning no Fabio Capello and no 0-0 draws with Algeria.

Campbell has moved on but Ledley King is a more than adequate replacement, as is permanent Barcelona target Glen Johnson for Neville.

Michael Carrick is no longer the most underestimated midfielder in the history of football after dominating the midfielder and driving England to a third World Cup win without sprinting once.

Stevie G drops into midfield alongside him, with Lampard and Cole, who is now rated as highly as Gazza, playing in front.

Rooney finishes as top scorer and is caught on camera ranting about how passionate England fans have been throughout the tournament.

What a time to be alive.

All hail the 3-4-2-1

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All hail the 3-4-2-1

Of course, we didn’t play 3-4-2-1 in 2002, 2006 or 2010, so we never even got a sniff of the warm Carling-induced glory that comes with winning a World Cup.

But there’s some good news.

With Southgate at the helm and England now playing 3-4-2-1 we’re bound to win in Russia. Better order the open-top bus parade now.


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