World Cup 2018: England drawn with Belgium, Tunisia and Panama

England were granted a forgiving World Cup draw, and a potential path to the quarter-final, as they avoided all of the former champions and landed in Group G with Belgium, Panama and Tunisia with a first game against the African team in Volgograd on 18 June.
There was no truly old-fashioned ‘group of death’ in the competition, although the closest are probably B (Portugal, Spain, Morocco and Iran), D (Argentina, Iceland, Croatia and Nigeria) and F (Germany, Mexico, Sweden and Korea).
Hosts Russia were meanwhile given an easy draw, with the tournament’s opening game coming between them and Saudi Arabia in Moscow on 14 June, before fixtures against Egypt and Uruguay.After the match against Tunisia – a repeat of 1998 – England will play against debutants Panama in Nizhny Novgorod on Sunday 24 June before a decider against highly-fancied Belgium in Kaliningrad on Thursday 28 June.
The other benefit to that draw for Gareth Southgate’s side is that they have also avoided a heavyweight if they get through to the last 16, with the winners of their group set to play whoever comes through Group H – Poland, Senegal, Colombia, Japan.The World Cup’s first real big match is on the second day, as 2010 champions Spain meet Euro 2016 winners Portugal in Sochi.
Vladimir Putin opened the draw, and promised “a major sporting festival of friendship and fair play”.
So, the groups in order of difficulty, according to Fifa coefficients:
Group F Germany, Mexico, Sweden, South Korea Ave coefficient: 1048.7625Group C France, Australia, Peru, Denmark Ave coefficient: 1039.3975Group B Portugal, Spain, Morocco, Iran Ave coefficient: 1031.105Group D Argentina, Iceland, Croatia, Nigeria Ave coefficient: 986.7075Group G Belgium, Panama, Tunisia, England Ave coefficient: 957.88Group H Poland, Senegal, Colombia, Japan Ave coefficient: 948.275Group E Brazil, Switzerland, Costa Rica, Serbia Ave coefficient: 744.565Group A Russia, Saudi Arabia, Egypt, Uruguay Ave coefficient: 700.41.