England Handed Favourable Draw at World Cup 2018
The majority of England fans were left with smiles on their faces following the Three Lion’s favourable draw for World Cup 2018. Gareth Southgate’s side were drawn in Group G alongside Belgium, Tunisia and Panama.
England were drawn from Pot B and managed to avoid many of big names including Argentina, Brazil and Germany. Belgium will be tough with Roberto Martinez’s side embarking on their longest unbeaten streak throughout 2016 and 2017, helping them to finish top of their qualifying group. Whilst the Red Devils have been potent going forward scoring 43 goals during their 10 qualifying matches, their defence has been less than reliable and many fans were left concerned by their distinct lack of organisation during their 3-3 friendly draw against Mexico.
888Sport have priced up Belgium as sixth favourites for the tournament at 14/1 whilst England have been cut to 24/1 following their favourable draw.
Tunisia are generally perceived as one of the weakest teams in the competition but will still provide stiff competition in Group G. England will face the African side in St. Petersburg on June 18th and will be expected to open with all 3 points. The majority of Tunisian internationals ply their trade in their domestic league, although the likes of former Sunderland winger Wahbi Khazri could be dangerous if underestimated.
Panama are competing in their first ever World Cup and declared a national holiday to toast their side’s success. Although they will be seen as relatively easy opposition, it is always difficult to face a side who are riding the crest of a wave. They will be hoping to make a name for themselves on the world stage and they can be pleased with their draw. There were just three minutes left when Panama clinched their place at the World Cup 2018 and their passionate fans will make plenty of noise in Russia.
Elsewhere, Spain and Portugal have been drawn together in Group B and face one another in the opening match. Morocco and Iran complete the line-up. The Iberian Derby is likely to be one of the highlights of the group stages.
Hosts Russia kick things off on June 14th against Saudi Arabia and whilst that game may fail to get the pulse racing of the average football fan, Uruguay vs Egypt certainly has the possibility to be an entertaining 90 minutes of attacking flair.
England narrowly avoided being drawn alongside Germany, with Joachim Low’s side getting Mexico, Sweden and Korea Republic in Group F. The reigning champions will be confident of progression although many pundits do consider Janne Andersson’s Sweden a dark horse for the tournament.
Brazil will face Switzerland in their opener and have a tough game against Serbia to follow. Costa Rica, the surprise package of the 2014 World Cup, complete Group E. Argentina only just secured their qualification thanks to the genius of Lionel Messi. and they sit alongside Iceland, Croatia and, once again, Nigeria in Group D.
1998 World Cup winners France have been handed an encouraging draw, and will take on Australia, Peru and Denmark. Finishing things off, Group H is likely to have the least global appeal, consisting of 4 underdogs for the tournament; Poland, Senegal, Colombia and Japan.