Sunday, 17 December, 2017

World Cup 2018 draw

Hazard inspires Chelsea comeback against Newcastle World Cup 2018: England boss Gareth Southgate 'will not write off' tournament
Betsy Taylor | 02 December, 2017, 01:35

England will learn their World Cup fate on Friday in Moscow, as the draw takes place for next summer's tournament in Russian Federation.

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.

Belgium, England, Tunisia and Panama were drawn together in Group G at Friday's ceremony in the Kremlin, with the Belgians the top seeds.

They will play their first game against Tunisia in Volgograd on 18 June, the fifth day of the tournament.

"Of course, a lot of these players are going to peak in two to four years' time, but we can't just write off the tournament".

Gareth Southgate has challenged Harry Kane to prove he is a world-class striker by starring at next summer's World Cup.


Spain and Portugal, given all their talent and firepower, should make light work of Morocco and Iran. Group D is also tougher than others, featuring Argentina, Iceland, Croatia and Nigeria.

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England have never lost to Belgium at a major tournament and have only lost one of their 21 matches against them.

Speaking to talkSPORT following the World Cup draw, the 47-year-old said: "If you look at the groups, because of the seeding you get two teams in the top 15/20 in the rankings and then a couple of teams who aren't in there".

"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.

There could be a positive omen, too, in the Panama manager Hernán Darío Gómez having coached Colombia at France 98 when England beat them 2-0 and David Beckham scored a trademark free-kick from 30 yards. We've got to remember where we are starting from with this group of young players. "That's the hard question, she was born in England but I'm sure I can persuade her to support Belgium".

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