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World Cup 2018 draw

02 December, 2017, 00:36 | Author: Carla Brady
  • World Cup 2018: England boss Gareth Southgate 'will not write off' tournament

Belgium manager Roberto Martinez says England are favourites to win their World Cup group.

"I saw their last game against Germany (a 0-0 draw last month), and they are a good side, young, with lots of new faces".

But Southgate, recalling England's decades of disappointment on the global stage, was wary of Panama, telling the BBC: "We've been good at writing teams off and then getting beat".

In the wide-ranging interview, Southgate dismissed any concerns over potential long-distance travelling his squad may face arguing that his England players were well versed with the demands of major competitions, with numerous squad making regular visits to European counterparts during the season.

Southgate pointed to England's premature exits from the last World Cup and Euro 2016 as reasons for limiting expectations. I'm really looking forward to getting on with it now.

England's opener is against Tunisia, now ranked 27th, in Volgograd on June 18, with the game against 56th-ranked Panama in Nizhny Novgorod on June 24.

"I've got a big problem at home because my daughter is English so I need to make sure that she knows which team to support!"




But William Hill, one of Britain's leading bookmakers, responded to Friday's draw by cutting England's odds of winning the 2018 World Cup to 16/1 (bet £1 to win £16) from 20/1.

"It's a challenging group for both nations, probably the hardest one in terms of the travelling and logistics".

England were drawn with Belgium, Tunisia and Panama in Group G of the 2018 finals and will open their campaign against Tunisia on June 18 before facing Panama six days later, then closing the group with top seeds Belgium on June 28.

Tunisia will be based just outside Moscow during the tournament, and their coach is also happy at avoiding playing until the fifth day of the competition.

"With the way Panama qualified by beating the United States it will be something we have to manage. They were a very good team, but this team is more humble than them".

"It would be stupid of us to set targets".

The England manager said that Kane - who is expected to be named captain before the squad go to Russian Federation - had to deliver at a major global tournament to be considered among the world's elite.

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