Eric Dier and Jan Vertonghen watch World Cup draw together

Gareth Southgate: 'England cannot simply write off 2018 World Cup'

Gareth Southgate insists Joe Hart remains England's No.1 goalkeeper

ENGLAND were handed a favourable draw for the 2018 World Cup in Russian Federation yesterday after being chosen to face Belgium, Panama and Tunisia in Group G.

"There is less [expectancy] because of the youthful look to the squad, a lot of our players are new to this", Murphy told The Debate.

And Southgate has warned that underestimating teams heading into the tournament would not be wise.

If they reach the last eight, they are likely to face Germany or Brazil, but a quarterfinal appearance would be their best performance since 2006 and that should be the realistic expectation in Russian Federation. "We want to go to the World Cup to enjoy our football and to enjoy the responsibility of having such a strong generation". "So I am quite positive and I think it is a good group".

They will then travel to Nizhny Novgorod on June 24 to take on Panama, with their final group fixture against Belgium on June 28 in Kaliningrad.

"It is a game where there are no secrets - no secrets about Belgium from England or for us about the England team".

Spurs and England frontman Harry Kane also tweeted his reaction to the draw, saying: "Belgium, Tunisia and Panama!"

Former Republic of Ireland and Newcastle United goalkeeper Shay Given agrees that England have been handed a more than favourable draw.

"That is the most important thing for us".

"But even the draw today will be exciting for the fans".

Question marks remain over England's ability to dictate a game from midfield and keep possession against the stronger teams but nobody is realistically expecting them to win the competition.

"But for me, Tunisia first then Panama are two flawless starts".

"We've got six days of rest after our first game, which if they are anxious about travel, that shouldn't be an issue".

"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".

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