England have been drawn with Belgium, Tunisia and Panama in World Cup Group G and will surely be confident – if they can ever be confident – of making it through to the last-16.
Seeded second England will kick off against Tunisia in Volgograd on Monday June 18 and then face Panama – at their first ever World Cup – in Novgorod on June 24 and then they will play their final group match against top seeds Belgium in Kaliningrad on June 28.
That final fixture will have a very Premier League feel to it given the large number of Belgians – from Kevin de Bruyne to Eden Hazard and Romelu Lukaku in the Red Devils team who are coached by former Everton manager Roberto Martinez.
The Belgians, too, will be pleased with the draw, and did not want to face England in the group stages, and although the make-up of the groups was designed to avoid so-called Groups of Death then there are some which are tougher than others.
Group B has Spain and Portugal along with Morocco and Iran while in Group D there is Argentina, Iceland, Croatia and Nigeria. England will have been pleased to have avoided those.
It could have been far tougher for England but they will be wary given their previous failings not least against smaller, unfancied nations. The fact they play Belgium in their final tie may also be to their advantage and despite the strength of their opponents England have lost just one of their 21 previous international matches against Belgium (2-3 in 1936).
If England win their group – a huge if – the likely route would be Colombia in Rostov, Brazil in Kazan, France in St Petersburg and then the final in Moscow… but let us not get carried away.