The former defender was named in the team of the tournament at the 2002 World Cup.
Sol Campbell was present for a few discussions and shared his thoughts on how England has fared in the World Cup, saying that this team is a mix of young and experienced players who are playing incredible football.
Sol Campbell is a part of the Viacom18 Sports expert panel for the FIFA World Cup Qatar 2022. The matches are live on Sports18 and JioCinema.
A few journalists asked numerous questions about the World Cup, including who surprised him the most throughout the tournament; the questions asked by journalists are listed below.
Q – How do you rate England’s campaign thus far, and how have they performed in each match?
Sol Campbell – We have put in a fantastic effort thus far and played thoroughly and are expected to be here the USA game was a real alarm bell and they played much better than England and then we played fantastic against Senegal and came out on top, despite Senegal threatening in the beginning, still, England were clinical there were moments and we got the job done
Q – In terms of the Stern test, Many people are talking about Mbappe, but there are many other players who will pose a threat, so how do you believe they will be stopped?
Sol Campbell – I believe that is how it will go, and it will depend on their strategies because, in addition to Mbappe, Dembele is also fast and they forward Giroud, so it will be a difficult game and you can’t go 1v1 Mbappe and hope that both Dembele and Mbappe have bad games. So it depends on how the team tracks back, and you can’t bring back everyone, so there will be no midfield. Do you believe Walker has what it takes to stop him?
Yes, both are quick, but there are many others, such as Giroud and Griezmann. However, we have excellent players like Foden and Kane. So it will depend on how many bodies are required to mark Mbappe. It’s all about team shape, since the team will have to play cohesively, and if they can stop him, they should be fine.
Q – Do you believe England can win the World Cup if they defeat France?
Sol Campbell – Why not if they defeat France? It’s a tremendous boost and will give them a lot of confidence, and we’ll have two games if we beat France.
Q – Speaking of going all the way, England has reached the semi-finals and finals of the last two major tournaments but failed to cross the finish line. Do you think it will take a toll on them to win the trophy as it did on Belgium?
Sol Campbell – The manager is the most important thing here; he should remind them that if we’ve come this far, we can go all the way. It depends on their character and how effectively their manager’s methods work, but it also needs luck, like a little slice of luck in these competitions.
Q – Do you believe this team is stacked with great players?
Sol Campbell – I believe it is bursting with potential going forward because we have a wealth of players and are in a situation where we can convert that onto the pitch and win the remaining games.
Q – England generates a lot of hype and noise when they play well, but they also get a lot of flak when they don’t.
Sol Campbell – Fans would want this to come home because we reached the semi-finals and then the finals in Euro 2020. Fans are praying for a win because we have three games left.
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Q – What are your thoughts on the performance of African and Asian teams?
Sol Campbell – Amazing, I mean Saudi Arabia, but they lost momentum and would have advanced to the round of 16. Morocco was great in how they upset many major teams with their tactics, it was like street football and it was lovely they are always testing and finding your weakest link. But Qatar was unable to compete, which is a good sign for many underdogs.
Q – Returning to England and France, how has Mbappe been, how important is it to not be intimidated by a single player, Walker also stated that this is a team game, and how vital is it to maintain this setup with this mentality?
Sol Campbell – I understand why we said it as a team; it’s not an individual game, it’s a team game, and there is a way to deal with that; it’s all about England versus France; they have a lot of players, and it’s going to be a difficult game for England. Both countries have a strong front three.
Q – Talking about quality, how Griezmann has fared and, while he may not have scored, what work he has in every game.
Sol Campbell – He has been top, and I saw him against Poland with two tackles he made and orchestrating the game and causing things he is a really top player and everywhere on the pitch, you have Mbappe, Giroud, and Dembele and behind them is Griezmann covering them, this will be a real test, this is what it’s all about but it came a bit early and its showtime to see who blinks first and who shows their magic first this is what it’s all about
Q – Many have stated that Ronaldo’s presence has hampered Portugal’s game, whilst Messi has been key for Argentina.
Sol Campbell – Messi has been tamed, he is not overly vocal, and if he is, he is on his way. While Ronaldo departed from United and is headed in the direction of a leader and pleasant things, anything more added to it is all about dumping it down and there is so much pressure, but both players are used to that stress. I’m not sure why he was rested against Switzerland.
Q – Should Fernando Santos stick to the same lineup that used against Switzerland?
Sol Campbell – I believe he has to, and Ronaldo must wait for his chance to return, and there is pressure on him, and Ramos scored three goals. So Ronaldo may go again, and it is about his mentality and the skills component that the nation wants from him, which he is used to, but Santos will make the final decision.
Q – Can you name three young players who impressed the most?
Sol Campbell – Joao Felix, Gakpo, and Bellingham.
Q – Southgate has been chastised for his conservative methods in the Nations League, but it has been a different story in the World Cup.
Sol Campbell – It’s important that he turned things around and kept things going after the USA match finished in a draw. Then we say Senegal, who had one major chance when Pickford was called into action, the ball would have dipped below that would have different motive if it was a goal. Southgate, on the other hand, has done an excellent job of keeping the team’s momentum and getting players back on track. They have covered it very well, and Sterling is back, and now that he has control of the situation in the press and with the players, he needs to go one step further and win the big trophy.
Q – DO you think this England has the character to step up when expectations are there
Sol Campbell – They clearly have the character, and they appear confident in the game; you can see if they are vulnerable, but they have kept things throughout; nonetheless, there will be moments because how things can be managed will be seen in the matches.
Q- will Arsenal win the Premier League this season?
Sol Campbell – Well, it has suffered a huge hit now, removing Jesus is like selling Mane to Bayern Munich, ignoring the goals he has provided and his control of the ball, but we will see how things turn out.
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