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


Gareth Southgate was appointed England manager on a four-year deal in November 2016
World Cup 2018 draw
Venue: State Kremlin Palace, Moscow Date: Friday, 1 December Time: from 15:00 GMT
Coverage: Watch live on BBC Two & the BBC Sport app from 15:00 GMT, live on BBC Radio 5 live Drive from 15:20 GMT and follow live text commentary from 13:00 GMT on the BBC Sport website.

England manager Gareth Southgate says his side “cannot go to a World Cup and not try to win it”.

The draw for next summer’s tournament in Russia takes place from 15:00 GMT on Friday, with the Three Lions in the second pot of seeded teams.

It will be Southgate’s first major finals in charge of the national team.

“We’ve got to attempt to win each game, be as prepared as we can be, and see how far we can go,” the 47-year-old told BBC Sport.

“Of course, a lot of these players are going to peak in two to four years’ time, but we can’t just write off the tournament. I don’t think anyone in England would accept that.

“We can’t go to a World Cup and not try to win it.”

England have not won a knockout game at a major tournament since the 2006 World Cup in Germany, when they were beaten in the quarter-finals by Portugal during Sven-Goran Eriksson’s reign.

At last year’s European Championship, England’s failure to make it out of the group stage cost Roy Hodgson his job as manager.

“Our last two tournaments have been a disappointment,” said Southgate, who took over following Sam Allardyce’s short-lived spell in charge last year.

“We’ve got to remember where we are starting from with this group of young players. But equally they’re fiercely ambitious, everything is ahead of them and it’s not for me to put a limit on their expectations.”

Who is Southgate desperate to avoid?

A tough scenario for England in Friday’s draw, which will be shown live across the BBC, would see them drawn in the same group as five-time winners Brazil, seven-time Africa Cup of Nations champions Egypt, and Serbia.

An easier draw, on paper, would see them in a group with Poland, Iran and Panama.

England know they cannot meet Spain in the group stage, but Southgate is not focusing on who he would like to avoid.

“It’s not that the draw is irrelevant but you can worry yourself silly thinking who you are going to play. We have got to be prepared to play everybody,” he said.

“In the past we have become unstuck against teams we’d be expected to beat perhaps, and at times we have played really well against teams that might be seeded higher than us.”

More to follow.



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