Eric Dier and Jan Vertonghen watch World Cup draw together

World Cup 2018: Fortune favours England in draw - despite Belgian threat

World Cup draw in full - England discover their group opponents for Russia

England will open up against Tunisia on June 18.

He added: "We are a group of players with an incredible responsibility, they are true ambassadors for Belgium football".

"It is interesting to be starting slightly later, with what that means at the end of the season. We've got to be prepared for every game". "That needs a bit of working out now".

Southgate claimed a relatively late introduction to the tournament, coming five weeks after the final Premier League match, could also play into the hands of his young team.

Ahead of today's draw, he spoke about expectations around his side going into next summer.

The draw stirred fond memories for Southgate of playing for England against Tunisia at France 98, a match they won 2-0.

BRUNO FAHY  GettyImages
BRUNO FAHY GettyImages

That could be seen as a match to decide the victor of the group, but, with England having finished second in a group containing USA, Slovenia and Algeria in 2010, before failing to get out of a group also boasting Italy, Uruguay and Costa Rica in 2014, Southgate feels a team that lost to Iceland in last 16 of the European Championship past year can ill-afford to look beyond any opponent.

Ireland's World Cup playoff conquerors Denmark are in Group C alongside France, Australia and Peru.

"They're the top seeds in the group, but a really good challenge for us". We know it's probably the best side Belgium has ever had, and we know the quality they have. The last two tournaments - Costa Rica went through in a group with us and then Iceland knocked us out.

Southgate believes Belgium - managed by Roberto Martinez with Englishman Graeme Jones as his assistant - are among the favourites to win the trophy.

At one stage there was a 50-50 chance of either Brazil or Germany but host Gary Lineker joked that Maradona was good with his hands and so it proved once more, the Argentina legend only drawing England with two balls to go.

"Having played Brazil last month, I wasn't disappointed to be missing out on that game in the group because I think they're going to be one of the serious contenders", said the 47-year-old.

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