Neville says Southgate will be confident after World Cup draw

Gary Neville claims Gareth Southgate will be confident England can get out of their World Cup group but believes the Three Lions would prefer NOT to play either Scotland or Wales

  • England were placed in Group B for the World Cup alongside the USA and Iran
  • They will be joined by one of Ukraine, Scotland or Wales from the play-offs
  • Gary Neville believes Gareth Southgate will be satisfied by the World Cup draw
  • He does though believe each of the opponents will pose some difficulty 

Gary Neville believes England should be confident after their World Cup draw despite feeling that each of their opponents will pose the Three Lions some difficulty. 

In Friday’s draw, England were placed against United States and Iran – with the Three Lions set to play the latter on the opening day of the tournament on November 25.

They could also face a home nations clash in the group stage, with Gareth Southgate’s men forced to wait to see which out of Wales, Scotland or Ukraine progresses through the final European play-off to make the tournament in Qatar.

Gary Neville says Gareth Southgate will be confident following their World Cup group stage draw

England will play the United States, Iran and one of Wales, Scotland or Ukraine

Speaking to Sky Sports, Gary Neville said: ‘I think an interesting group. In terms of the quality of teams England have got to play you’d say it would be quite comfortable but what each team brings is a level of emotion to it.

‘Obviously the USA will look at England and provide great difficulty.

‘The Ukraine, Wales and Scotland conundrum – each of those whether it be a home nation or Ukraine at this moment in time brings a level of real passion, emotion and feeling for different reasons.

Neville says the United States could pose ‘great difficulty to England’ (Southgate pictured with USA head coach Gregg Berhalter

Neville believes a match against Ukraine, Scotland or Wales would all provide a ‘level of passion and emotion’ for different reasons

‘Then Iran, obviously relations at government level between them, England and USA has not been great over the last 20 to 30 years so there will be a lot of interest around that game.

‘But I think from a footballing perspective Gareth Southgate will feel he can get out of that group, understanding the things that I’ve just mentioned will add that little bit of difficulty.’

‘Scotland was a very difficult game in the last Euros, Wales we just nipped past them a few years ago but they went further (at Euro 2016). 

‘Those games are real challenging for England -it always has been. We know how much it means to the Welsh, the Scottish and the Irish to play against England.

He believes England would prefer not to have a home nations clash with Scotland or Wales

‘That’s not being arrogant we just know it’s a huge fixture. It is as well for England but it doesn’t carry the same level of dislike that Wales and Scotland have towards England.

‘They are difficult games from emotional perspective more than a footballing perspective and that does carry something of a problem for England.’

Neville though believes England would prefer not to play either Scotland or Wales. 

‘England would want to try and avoid playing a home nation. Just brings that complication you don’t need.

‘It’s always been the same we had it in Euro 96 when Scotland should have beat us then Paul Gascoigne scored that incredible goal.

‘They’ve always been difficult opponents, passion of the Scottish fans, the Welsh fans, we have great fans as well but those two travel really well.

‘It could be Ukraine as well we can’t dismiss they’re still in the hunt.’  

Speaking directly after the draw, former England striker Alan Shearer told BBC:  ‘Gareth Southgate would have taken that – deep down, without a doubt. He just can’t come out and say it just in case. He’s too professional to say it. He’ll be more than happy with it.

Alan Shearer also believes England boss Southgate will be ‘more than happy’ with the draw

‘Gareth will look at that and think it could have been a lot more difficult. I am sure he and his players will be happy with that.

‘This is the one thing in not having that ‘group of death’. It is pretty much open. I have to say that I am pleased Scotland, Wales or Ukraine got put in England’s group. It adds that little bit more excitement. If it is Wales or Scotland it makes it a bit tougher. 

‘The England players will be full of confidence going into the tournament and after what’s happened in the last two will have a genuine, genuine belief that they can actually do something.’

The outcome of Friday’s draw for the 2022 World Cup which starts in November

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