England boss Gareth Southgate claims that he has no preference for who his team face at next year’s World Cup, with the draw for Russia 2018 taking place later today at 3 PM GMT in Moscow.
England will be in Pot 2 of the draw along with Spain, Mexico, Colombia, Switzerland, Uruguay Croatia and Peru. Being in Pot 2 means the Three Lions could face the favourites Argentina, Germany, Belgium or Brazil in the group stages of the competition, as well as hosts Russia.
Not concerned about who England face
However, England boss Gareth Southgate is not fazed by the draw, telling Sky Sports:
People have asked me that for a few months and I could have wasted hours plotting different charts but in the end, you can’t affect that.
You have got to prepare for whoever. We have come unstuck against supposedly lesser nations in the past and we have had really good results against teams that would be seeded higher than us. Whatever comes, we will be excited about I am sure.
I know a lot of people I have worked with have plotted out who we might get [but] I have never done that. It is not something I worry about. What I am looking forward to is being able to say ‘that is who we are playing’ and looking at their previous games and getting on with preparing in earnest.
England’s recent tournament history
England qualified for the World Cup by winning their group, in an unbeaten qualification campaign. However, what teams they are drawn alongside in the group stages of the competition could decide how well the Three Lions does in Russia.
Since winning the World Cup in 1966, England’s best performance at a World Cup remains finishing fourth at Italia ’90. Bobby Robson’s team made it to the semi-finals of the competition, only to be defeated on penalties by Germany. The Three Lions then went on to lose the third-place play-off against hosts Italy.
The Three Lions failed to make it out of their group in the last World Cup, while only making it to the last-16 back in 2010, following successive quarter-final appearances in the competition.
England are not regarded as one of the main contenders to win next year’s trophy. However, they will be looking to improve on their last World Cup performance by making it out of the group stages this time around.
A dangerous underdog
The Three Lions last tournament appearance ended in embarrassment, as minnows Iceland produced a shock victory to defeat the Three Lions 2-1 in the last-16 of Euro 2016. The defeat led to experienced boss Roy Hodgson quitting as England boss.
England’s conquerors will also be taking part in next year’s World Cup, their first ever, as the Nordic nation will become the smallest to have ever played in a World Cup.
There is a possibility that England may have to face Iceland in Russia. Iceland, whose star player is Everton playmaker Gylfi Sigurdsson, will once again fancy their chances of pulling off a shock at a major tournament, having won their qualification group.
Who will England be drawn alongside at World Cup 2018?