World Cup 2018 groups announced

World Cup 2018: England boss Gareth Southgate 'will not write off' tournament

Russian Federation play Saudi Arabia in the opening game of the tournament in Moscow on 14 June, with Egypt and Uruguay making up the other teams in Group A.

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".

When asked about England's chances of winning the tournament, World Cup victor Gordon Banks said: "If they start straightaway, getting some results, playing pretty well, then they'll stand a chance".

Coach Roberto Martinez took over the Belgium job past year after leaving Everton, and Southgate expects to see him scouting players frequently around the Premier League.

"For me personally, to play in a World Cup for my country was an incredible honour".

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With the top two teams in each pool going through to the second round, Belgium and England will be huge favourites to make it out of Group G.

"But for me, it reminds me of one of the best days of my life, really, playing in my first game in a World Cup [against Tunisia in Marseille at France '98]".

"As a player you are judged a lot by what happens with your club, but in the end the world stars are ultimately judged by what they do with their country, and in major tournaments, this is the stage for all of our guys to show exactly the level they are capable of".

"Remembering the Tunisia game in 1998, it was the first thing that went through my mind", he said.

Belgium are 10 places ahead of England in the world rankings, but both teams went unbeaten through qualifying and their encounter on paper is one of the ties of the group stage. "So to have the opportunity to do that as a coach now, leading my team into an opening fixture of the World Cup, will be an incredibly proud moment".

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