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England Coach Gareth Southgate “Grateful” After Favourable World Cup Group

Gareth Southgate has admitted that he is “grateful” with the logistical side of England’s group-stage draw for the 2018 FIFA World Cup.

England begin their campaign against Tunisia in Volgograd on June 18, before a six-day rest ahead of their next match against tournament debutants Panama in Nizhny.

England then head to Kaliningrad four days later for a showdown with Roberto Martinez’s Belgium, with that match kicking off at the later time of 7pm BST.

Speaking to BBC Sport, Southgate said: “There’s a bit of travelling, but having the six-day break between games might help any injuries clear up. You’re always grateful for as much prep as possible.

“Travel wise, the way tournaments are now you’ve got to be adaptable, but our kick-off times are decent as well. It’s been great today to mix with more experienced coaches. It’s nice to have a fresh challenge.

“When you’re trying to qualify, you don’t think about days like today but that’s the beauty of the World Cup. When you look at old videos and goals it takes you back to the pureness of football. Now, the country knows what’s coming and they can get excited.

“I was proud to play for my country, and to lead my country is beyond that. I’m really looking forward to it.”

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