Friday 01 December 2017, 21:47

Southgate: We have a lot of potential

  • England coach Gareth Southgate reacts to Friday’s World Cup Final Draw

  • Three Lions drawn in Group G with Belgium, Panama, and Tunisia

  • England open against the Tunisians in Volgograd on 18 June 2018

Following Friday’s Final Draw for the 2018 FIFA World Cup Russia™, England coach Gareth Southgate gave his reaction to being drawn with top seed Belgium, debutants Panama, and African qualifiers Tunisia in Group G.

“We know Belgium really well. Most of their players play in the English Premier League,” Southgate said. “Panama is a team we’ve never played, so for us, it’s interesting to find out more about the team. Tunisia personally takes me back to 1998 and the first game of the World Cup in France, because as a player, my first game was against them.”

The Three Lions’ opening match against Tunisia in Volgograd on 18 June 2018 is a repeat of their opening contest at France 1998 when Alan Shearer and Paul Scholes gave England a 2-0 victory over the North Africans in Marseille. Southgate’s side will then face the Panamanians in Nizhny Novgorod on 24 June 2018 before completing their group schedule against the Belgians in Kaliningrad four days later.

“We’re quite a young team,” Southgate said. “We don’t have huge experience of tournament football, but as a team, we have a lot of potential and a team that we think will improve in the next few years.”