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renegadebusdallas.com December 12, 2017


England get lucky but Gareth Southgate urges caution

03 December 2017, 01:12 | Marta Robbins

Gareth Southgate insists Joe Hart remains England's No.1 goalkeeper

Gareth Southgate: 'England cannot simply write off 2018 World Cup'

It gets some of the younger lads, who may not have played in a major tournament before, into the tournament nice and gets them a run into the Belgium game.

"Without contest they are the favourites in this group".

Tunisia and England will meet in their opening game in Volgograd on June 18 - a repeat of the 1998 World Cup group stage, when England won 2-0 in their first match in Marseille.

It was nearly fated, it seems, that given the links between the Belgium squad and England - and between Martinez and the country the 44-year-old Spaniard spent 21 years in, building his career as a player and as a manager with Swansea City, Wigan Athletic and Everton - that the two nations would meet.

Tunisia will be based just outside Moscow during the tournament, and their coach is also happy at avoiding playing until the fifth day of the competition.

"Gareth will be telling the lads, 'We need to be super professional going into them two games, ' he said".

Laurence Griffiths  GettyImages
Laurence Griffiths GettyImages

That was the Carthage Eagles' very first game at the finals but they have failed to win any of their 11 World Cup games since - the longest winless run of any team in Russian Federation next year.

But the matches against Tunisia and England will be particularly evocative for their coach Hernan Dario Gomez. "We want to go to the World Cup to enjoy our football and to enjoy the responsibility of having such a strong generation".

Asked for his memories of that game, he said: "The goal Beckham scored!"

"Yes, a couple of them had a taste of it at the last tournament, but many of them will not feel that weight and burden that a lot of the players have carried over a good few tournaments over the years".

Despite being handed a relatively kind draw, Southgate says his men must do the background work to ensure they are prepared to deliver the goods when they come up against Tunisia and Panama.

Gareth Southgate's side have drawn Hazard's Belgium which will see Gary Cahill marking his Chelsea team-mate. "We are excited by the players we are working with and looking forward to seeing that journey develop".

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