The complexities of whittling 24 teams down to 16 means that England’s task is anything but straightforward ahead of their final Group E match. Avoiding defeat is a necessity but victory may not be required; after all, the Three Lions qualified in Colombia two years ago without winning a match, or indeed scoring a single goal.
But although three draws may again be sufficient, Harry Kane believes the challenge is not complicated, but simple. His challenge to England? Win and remove all doubt.
“We’ll definitely be going for a victory,” he told FIFA.com, looking ahead to facing Egypt. “If we get a draw and that’s enough, then fine. But we really want to get a win under our belts and we feel that we’re playing well enough to do that.
"We’re creating loads of chances and that has to be a positive sign. It would be nice to be taking a few more of them than we have been, but hopefully we’re saving them all for Saturday. We know what we’re capable of and if we put it all together, we can be a good side at this tournament.”
Kane is certainly playing his part. Having led the line selflessly in his first appearance, the 2-2 draw with Iraq, the big Tottenham Hotspur striker claimed the goal his overall play deserved in his second as England came from behind to claim a hard-earned point against Chile. And though the concerns of the team unsurprisingly take precedence, he admitted to feeling that a weight had been lifted with the arrival of his first strike at Turkey 2013.
He said: “I won’t lie and say that it doesn’t matter because, as a striker, you’re always looking for goals. The main thing was get the team some reward because the lads deserved that goal for the amount of work they’d put into the match. We felt a bit hard done by after the first game and didn’t want to come away from another game thinking that we’d got less than we deserved.
“Against though, while it’s not a bad draw as Chile are a good side, we feel we should maybe have taken all three points. We certainly had the chances to do that. But it keeps us alive going into the last game and, really, it’s simple for us now: we beat Egypt and we’re through. We watched a bit of their first match against Chile and they look to have some dangerous players, but we feel that it’s all about how we go about things. If we can get our game right, I’d be pretty hopeful of getting the job done.”
He might be confident, but the Spurs centre-forward admits that England are being tested to their limits here in Turkey. With opponents from Africa, Asia and South America, Peter Taylor's side are coming up against a dizzying array of footballing styles, and their No9 for one is relishing the experience.
“Every game is a different experience and a different lesson for us,” he said. “It’s already been a fantastic learning experience for us all and, the longer we stay in, the more we’ll learn. We just want to keep going.”
One aspect that should, Kane believes, be in England’s favour in Bursa on Saturday is a return to the 9pm kick-off slot, with conditions noticeably harsher three hours earlier: “I’ll be happy to go back to the later kick-off, I must admit.
“It was definitely harder playing at six o’clock than nine - it’s baking hot out there - but you know to expect that in Turkey at this time of year. It’s all part of the experience of a World Cup, coping with these kind of conditions and learning how to play in them. But I think it should help us, with the way we play the game, going out to play later in the day. We like to play with a lot of energy and, with it not being so hot, it should let us play our normal game.”