We simulated Pep Guardiola's first four years as England manager, the results are incredible
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Pep Guardiola is reportedly the 'dream' candidate of the FA to replace Gareth Southgate as England manager - and we've simulated his Three Lions career on Football Manager.
The Daily Mail claim that Southgate is set to leave his post after next summer's European Championships, in which event the FA would need to find a replacement.
The Spaniard's contract at the Etihad Stadium expires in 2025, meaning the FA would likely need to pay some form of compensation to City, with Guardiola also set to demand a high salary during his time as Three Lions boss.
Should he become England boss, though, the Three Lions would no doubt become favourites to win the next World Cup, which takes place in 2026.
Guardiola has previously spoken of his desire to manage in a World Cup, and may desire a half-cycle of two years to prepare the team for the tournament in the USA and Canada.
With that in mind, we've simulated to the 2026 World Cup on Football Manager 2023 to see how Guardiola could get on.
Pep Guardiola England career simulated
Given the start date for FM saves, we've had to do a bit of time travelling, a la Gary Sparrow, and rewriting of history for Guardiola's first season in charge of England.
Life as Three Lions boss for Guardiola, therefore, starts with Nations League clashes against Italy and Hungary.
It's a slow start for the Spaniard, as England lose 2-0 to Italy and draw 1-1 with Hungary.
Guardiola opts with a similar tactical setup to the one he has used at City throughout his time in charge.
He decides to play with a single defensive midfielder, with two central midfielders and two wingers.
The lineup is completed by a sole central striker, who plays as an advanced forward and false nine.
Guardiola's first World Cup campaign gets off to a dream start, with England winning all three of their group stage matches against Iran, Wales and USA.
And in a repeat of the real-life World Cup, England dispatch of Senegal in the last 16.
In another real-life repeat, England take on France in the quarter-final. It ends up being a seven-goal thriller - but Guardiola is eliminated from his first World Cup.
As for City, they would replace Guardiola with his antithesis - Atletico Madrid boss Diego Simeone.
But they still continued their dominance of English league football, winning the Premier League by five points ahead of Liverpool.
Simeone also added the Community Shield to his resume, but City were not successful in domestic or continental football.
Back to England, and Guardiola's charges stormed to top spot in their Euro 2024 qualifying group.
The Three Lions dispatched of Czech Republic, Slovakia, Albania and Kazakhstan on their way to winning all eight matches, conceding just two goals in the process.
They then drew Iceland, Turkey and World Cup nemeses France in what appeared to be a favourable group.
Guardiola's side secured wins over Turkey and Iceland, before losing 3-1 to France to finish second in Group F.
But their run to the final then speeds on unabated, as England beat Switzerland on penalties in the last 16 after a thrilling 3-3 draw.
They then defeated Belgium 2-0 in the quarter-final, before a meeting with City star Erling Haaland and Norway in the final.
But Guardiola's one-time star striker can't haunt his former manager, as the game ends 0-0 with England winning on penalties.
That left the small task of beating Spain in the final for England men's side to lift their first trophy since 1966.
But it's heartbreak for Guardiola and his side, who lose 4-1 to Spain. Raheem Sterling scores England's only goal of the final.
The Spaniard stuck with his trusted 4-3-3 formation for the final,
But the likes of Ben Chilwell, Aaron Ramsdale and Jordan Henderson - who is still in the England setup - struggle to perform.
And Guardiola's experiment of playing City star Phil Foden in the false nine role does not work out, either.
It's back to the drawing board, therefore, for the England boss, and the Three Lions once again breeze through their World Cup qualifying group with eight wins out of eight.
They also reach the semi-final of the Nations League, losing out to Belgium.
Then, in the World Cup, England finally get the better of rivals France in the quarter-final, with Jude Bellingham and Harry Kane on the scoresheet. Kane is back as a centre forward, while John Stones plays in defensive midfield.
That sets up a semi-final tie against Argentina. Guardiola makes a host of changes for the clash, with Foden dropping into central midfield, Bukayo Saka taking Rashford's left wing spot and Rashford replacing Kane.
Unfortunately for England, the change works in almost every way - except for the scoreline.
England lose 2-1 to Argentina, despite having 38 shots and 18 on target. It can be a cruel game sometimes.
So while Guardiola comes close to ending the England men's trophy drought, his failure to land a World Cup or European Championship means the drought extends beyond 60 years. But the Three Lions certainly come exceptionally close.