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Gareth Southgate pleased with Russia 2018 challenge after draw

Gareth Southgate knows expectations will be rising after England's kind draw for Russia 2018 Photo: PA

Gareth Southgate knows expectations will be rising after England's kind draw for Russia 2018 but says experience tells us the Three Lions should take nothing for granted.

Speaking after Friday's ceremony at the Kremlin, the England manager admitted he was relieved to have avoided Brazil and Germany but said his team face a "fascinating" challenge against Group G rivals Tunisia, Panama and Belgium.

"There's one team we know so much about in Belgium - one of the best teams in the world - and two teams we, at the moment, know a lot less about," the 47-year-old said.

"Panama, we've never played, and Tunisia have qualified through the African group, which is strong, so they're to be respected.

"We're the second-ranked team in that group so it's understandable how people will pitch it but, equally, in the last two tournaments we went out to teams we thought we'd beat.

"So we've got to be mentally prepared in those games, not in terms of underestimating them, because I don't think we do that with anybody, but we'll have to handle being the favourites and that's one of the challenges of being an England player."