MX23RW : Wednesday, October 17 23:27:38

Will travel harm England's World Cup chances?

England have put together a fine set of results under boss Gareth Southgate, but could travel scupper their chances of glory at this summer's World Cup?

Whenever England qualify for a World Cup, there is usually great expectation over the nation's chances at the biggest tournament in the world regardless of the fact that the Three Lions have performed poorly in major competitions for some time. However, it is difficult to throw up too many question marks about the form of Gareth Southgate's side, who will make the trip to Russia having put together a 10-match unbeaten run where a relatively-inexperienced squad have avoided defeats against the likes of Germany, Brazil, Netherlands and Italy. There is every reason to be cautiously optimistic but it remains to be seen whether England's performances on the pitch will be hindered by their time on the road and in the air.

Before the draw for the group stages was made in December, Southgate had already made the decision to set up base in Repino and Betway Insider has delved into the details of some of the travel issues which face England as they attempt to negotiate the group stages later in June. Russia stands as the largest country - by size - in the world and it is fair to say that England may be seeing a significant part of it during their stay. England have also been hindered - arguably - by being placed in Group G which means that the travelling woes highlighted by Betway must be completed in a shorter space of time than would have been required had they been drawn in the other side of the draw.

England Travel

On the plus side, England have been given at least two opponents who they should be beating and a third where they are only marginal underdogs on paper. England could have also been provided with a more difficult tie in the first knockout round should they get there but when you factor in how the 23-man squad will be spending a lot of their time away from the training pitch - the time which would have been best spent relaxing - on a bus or on a plane, you have to wonder whether being given a favourable draw has come at a cost.

England had to contend with drawing the short straw in Brazil four years ago and with it, were provided with a brutal group of Italy, Uruguay and Costa Rica, whose own travelling led to an underwhelming performance against England on Thursday night. The first group game in 2014 saw England having to make a 4,000km trip from Rio Janeiro to Manaus to face Italy in an area close to the Amazon rainforest. Throw in the humid conditions on top of a four-hour flight and once England had suffered defeat in their opener, it undermined the rest of their tournament. Russia is at the other end of the scale when it comes to temperature but have England learned lessons for their upcoming journeys from their debacle in South America? Only time will tell.

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England and Tottenham Hotspur midfielder Dele Alli in training ahead of the 2018 World Cup
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Tables
TeamPWDLFAGDPTS
1Manchester CityMan City86202131820
2Chelsea86201851320
3Liverpool86201531220
4Arsenal86021910918
5Tottenham HotspurSpurs8602157818
6Bournemouth85121612416
7Wolverhampton WanderersWolves843196315
8Manchester UnitedMan Utd84131314-113
9Watford84131112-113
10Leicester CityLeicester84041412212
11Everton83321312112
12Burnley82241012-28
13Brighton & Hove AlbionBrighton8224913-48
14Crystal Palace821559-47
15West Ham UnitedWest Ham8215813-57
16Southampton8125614-85
17Fulham8125921-125
18Huddersfield TownHuddersfield8035417-133
19Newcastle UnitedNewcastle8026613-72
20Cardiff CityCardiff8026417-132

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