World Cup 2018 draw

Joy Montgomery
December 3, 2017

Gareth Southgate's side were paired alongside Belgium, Tunisia and Panama in Friday's draw in Moscow, with England playing the North Africans in their first Group G contest on June 18.

The Republic of Ireland's play-off conquerors Denmark will take on 1998 winners France, Peru and Australia.

"The Belgium game could be good preparation if we do go through - keeping Eden Hazard, Romelu Lukaku and Kevin De Bruyne will be fun", he said.

It will be nearly exactly 20 years to the day when England played Tunisia in their opening fixture of the 1998 World Cup, with England winning 2-0 on June 15.

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"It was a brilliant occasion so to be leading the country out into that same occasion, the first game of the World Cup, I am hugely proud".

"They're ranked where they are in the world because of the quality they've got. We played Wales and they have more or the less the same style". Breaking Panama down will be England's challenge but with Tunisia and Panama cast in the roles of minnows, England must perform as they did in their qualifying campaign, where they were efficient rather than stylish. "When we have just come from two tournaments where Costa Rica knocked us out, and then Iceland, it would be folly for us not to be serious about our preparation and make sure our mentality is right", he said. They are pushing the likes of Adam Lallana and Jordan Henderson.

Will England get a harder or easier Group than the predicted draw? Dier is a certainty for the defensive midfield role while going forward, Adam Lallana, Sterling, Kane, Marcus Rashford and Dele Alli give England genuine attacking threat.

"What's exciting for our team is, although we lack some big match experience and we don't have at the moment trophies and medals on the table for a lot of the lads, I think that's all ahead for them and what's possible is exciting". The draw has been made and they can see the teams they are up against, where the games are situated and they have to travel to.

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