All the best reaction as England draw Belgium, Panama and Tunisia

All the best reaction as England draw Belgium, Panama and Tunisia

All the best reaction as England draw Belgium, Panama and Tunisia

They will then travel to Novgorod to face Panama on 24 June before the final group match against the top seeds Belgium in Kaliningrad on 28 June.

Gareth Southgate attempted to dampen expectations for Russian Federation 2018 despite England being drawn in a group from which most observers would expect them to advance without too many problems. "Very excited for the World Cup and facing Jan Vertonghen, Toby Alderweireld and Moussa Dembele".

"It's a hard group but we were expecting a hard draw because if you are in Pot 3, you are going to have some great footballing nations - like Belgium and England".

Despite being handed a relatively kind draw, Southgate says his men must do the background work to ensure they are prepared to deliver the goods when they come up against Tunisia and Panama.

"The interesting thing for us is starting later and what that might mean for us at the end of the season", he said. Now 28th in the Federation Internationale de Football Association rankings, Tunisia are at their first World Cup since 2006 but haven't won at the finals since 1978. Wahbi Khazri is perhaps their best-known player following two years at Sunderland, but it is a squad without star quality.

Southgate is likely to be bold and give youth a chance, but the games against Tunisia and Panama will pose different challenges than the more obvious test that Belgium will pose and sometimes, experience is a greater commodity than youthful exuberance against dogged, well-organised opponents.

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"You have got to prepare for whoever".

Southgate pointed to England's premature exits from the last World Cup and Euro 2016 as reasons for limiting expectations. We can't just have one captain and rely on them.

And that makes them the clear favourites in the eyes of Maaloul.

As quoted in the Mirror, Martinez said: "I knew we were going to get England".

"I know a lot of people I have worked with have plotted out who we might get [but] I have never done that".

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