Who's in England's World Cup group? Draw for Russia 2018 pits Gareth Southgate's men against Belgium, Panama and Tunisia

Joe Hall
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Final Draw for the 2018 FIFA World Cup Russia
Eyes on the prize: England know their first opponents at next year's World Cup (Source: Getty)

England have been drawn in the same group as Belgium, Tunisia and Panama at next year's World Cup.

Gareth Southgate's men will get their campaign underway against the North Africans in their opening game of Group G, a Friday night fixture in Volgograd on 18 June.

That will be followed up by a meeting with World Cup debutants Panama on 24 June in Nizhny Novgorod.

The sternest test comes against Belgium, managed by former Everton boss Roberto Martinez, in the final fixture of the group. The two European heavyweights will play each other in Kaliningrad on 28 June, a venue far closer to their St Petersburg base than many others.

Read more: Young Lions? Gareth Southgate's England is more youthful than nearly every other major nation at the World Cup

Here's what the rest of the draw looks like:

Group G:

  • Belgium
  • England
  • Tunisia
  • Panama

Group A:

  • Russia
  • Uruguay
  • Egypt
  • Saudi Arabia

Group B:

  • Portugal
  • Spain
  • Iran
  • Morocco

Group C:

  • France
  • Peru
  • Denmark
  • Australia

Group D:

  • Argentina
  • Croatia
  • Iceland
  • Nigeria

Group E:

  • Brazil
  • Switzerland
  • Costa Rica
  • Serbia

Group F:

  • Germany
  • Mexico
  • Sweden
  • South Korea

Group H:

  • Poland
  • Colombia
  • Senegal
  • Japan

Here's how the teams were seeded ahead of the draw:

Pot 1 Pot 2 Pot 3 Pot 4
Russia Spain Denmark Serbia
Germany Peru Iceland Nigeria
Brazil Switzerland Costa Rica Australia
Portugal England Sweden Japan
Argentina Colombia Tunisia Morocco
Belgium Mexico Egypt Panama
Poland Uruguay Senegal South Korea
France Croatia Iran Saudi Arabia

Could it have been worse for England?

Most certainly. Germany, Brazil or France were all possibilities from Pot 1. Belgium's squad is packed full of Premier League stars such as Kevin De Bruyne, Eden Hazard, Toby Alderweireld and Jan Vertonghen, yet they have a problem that will be familiar to most England fans; the Belgian golden generation has failed to perform beyond the sum of their parts at major tournaments in recent years.

Meanwhile, Panama and Tunisia are as easy draws as England could have hoped for from Pots 4 and 3 respectively.

Which one is the "group of death"?

With teams seeded based on ranking rather than location as in previous, the chances for a real "group of death" are much diminished.

Nevertheless, Argentina, Croatia, Iceland and Nigeria looks very well matched and even with Lionel Messi will not be easy for an Argentina side that laboured in qualifying.

Portugal's opening match against Iberian rivals Spain in Group B is arguably the draw of the round.

Who will England play in the next round should they get through?

Either Asia's most successful team Japan, Robert Lewandowski's Poland or South Americans Colombia.

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