England get lucky but Gareth Southgate urges caution

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Tunisia coach Nabil Maaloul was delighted to be drawn in the same group as England for the 2018 World Cup, insisting that the two teams will fight it out for second place behind Belgium.

Gareth Southgate has stressed that England "cannot go to a World Cup and not try to win it". The Hand of God plucked the ball containing England's name from a pot during the draw staged inside Moscow's State Kremlin Palace.

Gareth Southgate's side face Tunisia in their opening game in Volgograd on Monday June 18, before travelling 847 kilometres to Nizhny Novgorod to play World Cup debutants Panama on Sunday June 24. "But also not being fearful of what might happen is an important balance to find".

However, the amount of time they need to keep themselves off the pitch amused will be wholly reliant on performances on the pitch and how far the team go in the tournament.

There was no obvious group of death although neighbours Spain and Portugal were drawn together in Group B along with Morocco and Iran.

Jan Vertonghen
INSTAGRAM The Belgian defender looked less than impressed at being drawn alongside England

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The draw stirred fond memories for Southgate of playing for England against Tunisia at France 98, a match they won 2-0.

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".

"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 is the key game for us, and I think if we can get a positive result there we have every chance of qualifying", added Maaloul. "But if we do not beat Panama and Tunisia, we should start again!" "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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