In the latest England news, head coach Gareth Southgate has warned his players not to expect an easy ride when attempting to qualify from their 2018 World Cup group.
England have been drawn in Group G alongside Belgium, who are being tipped to go far in the tournament, 2004 Africa Cup of Nations champions Tunisia and debutants Panama.
On paper, it appears both the Red Devils and the Three Lions will take first and second place in the pool, while the two teams are priced at 12/1 and 18/1 respectively with sportingbet to go all the way and win the Russia showpiece.
Despite being drawn in arguably one of the easiest groups, Southgate is not taking anything for granted and he believes Panama and Tunisia will provide tough opposition.
“Both Tunisia and Panama have a clear style of play. Tunisia connect with the ball and keep possession extremely well. I think they are going to surprise people,” Southgate was quoted as saying by the Daily Mail.
“Panama are strong and resilient. They have the pride of a nation qualifying for the first time. The way they got through was bizarre really, the goal they got against Costa Rica was not even close to being over the line. But they came through a group where they knocked the USA out.”
England’s World Cup record has been disappointing since winning the trophy back in 1966, with just one semi-final appearance in 1990 their best performance, although they have reached the quarter-finals on four occasions.
The Three Lions of course failed to get out of their group in 2014 and the level of optimism heading into the tournament feels a lot less than it has been in previous years.
Huge pressure will be on Tottenham Hotspur striker Harry Kane to provide the goals and he is 21/20 favourite with sportingbet to be England’s top goalscorer, whilst Manchester City’s Raheem Sterling is a 13/2 chance.