Kane goals key if England are to challenge again

England's striker Harry Kane celebrating after scoring the team's third goal from the penalty spot during the UEFA Nations League match between England and Germany at Wembley stadium in north London. That goal was his 51st for the Three Lions leaving him only three goals away from becoming England's all-time highest scorer. Photo: AFP

History beckons for Harry Kane in Qatar with the England captain just two goals away from matching Wayne Rooney's record of 53 for the Three Lions.

But unless Kane lifts the World Cup aloft at the Lusail Stadium on December 18, he will enter the year he turns 30 still without a major trophy to his name.

Already guaranteed legendary status at Tottenham Hotspur, where he is just seven goals short of Jimmy Greaves' club record 266, Kane has another shot at immortality on the international stage should he fire Gareth Southgate's men to a first major tournament win in 56 years.

He has come agonisingly close to the biggest prizes in the game for both club and country.

Kane scored in the shootout as England lost on penalties in front of a home crowd in the Euro 2020 final against Italy 16 months ago.

He was also on the losing side when Tottenham reached the Champions League final for the first time in their history in 2019, going down 2-0 to Liverpool in Madrid.

Instead his career has been littered with personal accolades and goalscoring records in a remarkable rise from unspectacular loan spells at Leyton Orient, Millwall, Norwich City and Leicester City early in his career.

Already England's joint record goalscorer at major tournaments with 10 alongside Gary Lineker, Kane has a World Cup Golden Boot and three Premier League Golden Boots to his name.

"I'm close, I try not to think about it too much but with the World Cup coming up it would be an amazing place to go and achieve that," Kane said on the prospect of becoming England's record goalscorer in Qatar.

"I'm sure when it comes around I'll be ready to go and if I do do it this winter it will be extremely pleasing."

Southgate has made clear his wish that the record-breaking goal comes in the final.

A banner depicting England’s captain Harry Kane hangs alongside a building in Doha on October 23, 2022, ahead of the Qatar 2022 FIFA World Cup football tournament. Photo: AFP

England at the World Cup

Following is a statbox on England

FIFA Ranking: 5

Odds: 7-1

Previous tournaments:

England will be taking part in their 16th World Cup since they made their tournament debut in 1950. Their best performance came in 1966 when they won the tournament on home soil after beating West Germany in the final.

Since then it has been a regular tale of overly high expectations not being matched by actual performances, although they have come close on a couple of occasions.

They reached the semi-finals in Italy in 1990, losing to Germany on penalties, then in 2018 they again reached the last four but went down to Croatia.

England failed to qualify in 1974, 1978 and 1994.

How they qualified:

England breezed through a World Cup qualifying group which included makeweights San Marino and Andorra, going unbeaten in 10 matches with eight wins and two draws to seal automatic qualification last year.

They wrapped up their qualifying campaign with a 10-0 hammering of lowly San Marino as captain Harry Kane finished top scorer in the group with 12 goals.

England's draws came away to Poland and at home to Hungary.

Form guide:

After securing World Cup qualification, England have suffered a spectacular collapse in form, going six competitive games without a victory.

They failed to win a match in their Nations League campaign in a group with Italy, Hungary and Germany.

England drew three and lost three -- including twice against Hungary -- to finish bottom of the group, suffering the humiliation of relegation to League B.

A 4-0 defeat by Hungary in June was England's worst at home in 94 years, piling pressure on manager Gareth Southgate.

There were signs of life, however, in their last match before the World Cup as they hit back from 2-0 down against Germany to lead before drawing a thriller 3-3.