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Paul Merson Says: Harry Maguire has been England's best player at 2022 World Cup so far in Qatar ahead of Wales game

Plus: Merse says it will 'be the biggest shock in the history of football' if Wales were to beat England by four goals in Tuesday night's World Cup Group B game; England will qualify as group winners if they beat Rob Page's side who must win to have any chance of progressing to last 16

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Paul Merson expects England to beat Wales and argues they don't deserve to progress to the knockout stages should they fail to do so

In his latest Sky Sports column, Paul Merson discusses Tuesday night's game between Wales and England at the World Cup, why Harry Maguire has been their top performer in Qatar and believes Kylian Mbappe is the best player in the world.

England are guaranteed to qualify for the last 16 as long as they avoid a four-goal defeat or greater to Wales, who must beat Gareth Southgate's side to have any hope of progressing through Group B.

Maguire is likely to start for England on Tuesday night after impressing in their opening two games, as they thrashed Iran 6-2 followed by a goalless draw against the USA.

England will finish top of the group with victory over Rob Page's side and that could set up a potential quarter-final against France, who are on course to qualify as group winners.

Read on for the Magic Man's thoughts on the Wales vs England game, Maguire's performances in Qatar and how England could stop Mbappe...

Wales will not win by four goals

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England manager Gareth Southgate explains, in as simple terms as possible, the football rivalry between England and Wales

I expect England to go through, but they're not going to lose 4-0, so whatever happens they're going through.

But it'll be nice to get back to winning ways again before it gets into the knockout stages.

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These games you've seen them all before - it'll be a hard game. This is probably Wales' biggest game in their history tonight and England have to be up for it.

I'm absolutely sure England will get through. If they lost 4-0, I would be shocked. It'll be the biggest shock in the history of football.

If England lost it wouldn't be a shock, but if they lost 4-0 it would be.

World Cup is open | Nobody's great in it

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Paul Merson says England's performance against the USA was 'poor', but insists no teams 'breeze' through every game at a World Cup

The goalless draw against the USA was poor the other night, but that's what happens in tournament football.

You have your ups and downs, you've got to ride your luck, we got lucky and drew the game. If we win this game against Wales we've won the group, which was a pretty difficult group if I'm being honest.

I think England will do well. I think it's an open tournament. I don't think anybody's great in it. I don't think anybody is ripping it up.

I think we've got to get lucky, get a good draw and then we've got to go from there. But I think the most important thing is if getting through the group, which they will.

Maguire England's best performer so far

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Harry Maguire was voted as England's best performing player against the USA by Sky Sports readers, while manager Gareth Southgate reiterated his belief in the player

The most impressive England player at the moment is Harry Maguire.

I thought he was outstanding the other night. It takes a lot of bottle what he does. To turn up and go on that pitch with all of the pressure that's on him and he never lets England down - I can't talk highly enough of the bloke.

I think if he didn't play the other night, we get beat by the USA. I take my hat off to him, fair play.

It's big pressure playing for England and it's been even bigger pressure playing for England for Maguire in the last two games, and he's never let anybody down.

Mbappe is the best player in the world

Kylian Mbappe celebrates after restoring France's lead
Image: Kylian Mbappe is the joint-top scorer at the 2022 World Cup with three goals

Mbappe is the best player in the world. He has everything: he can beat players, he crosses the ball, scores goals, he can head it, he can dribble.

At 23 years of age, it's phenomenal.

England will need Kyle Walker back if they were to face France later in the tournament, otherwise I think we will struggle.

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