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    CJ: I would have preferred tougher World Cup group for England

    It may sound like pure madness when I start off this article by suggesting that I would have preferred a tougher group for England.

    However, I do feel that a lot of our failings to progress on the international scene is largely down to the fact we have such an easy pathway during competitions.

    Whilst some football fans may cry out ‘we’ve been drawn to Belgium’, for me they are about as overrated as you can get.

    Naturally at club level they have some fantastic players, yet to see such flops as Marouane Fellaini dub their shirt, it just makes me feel like they’re trying to play down this ‘golden generation’ tag that we often hear people speak of. After all what have they done in any major competition that is worthy of praise?

    And whilst England might not be setting the world alight, Gareth Southgate is trying to take the squad through a transitional period which has been majorly lacking due to us ourselves picking the wrong players to represent our national team.

    I would have preferred Group D myself, replacing Croatia with England.

    All 8 groups look fairly easy for all the bigger nations, yet Argentina in the group stage would have been a nice game to see play out early – with Nigeria also being a fairly decent team and, in Iceland, a team which England would definitely take seriously to avenge what happened at Euro 2016.

    Each team would have been a decent test, compared to Panama and Tunisia – watch the Three Lions now make a total meal of these games.

    I suppose you could argue that with such nations like Italy and Netherlands having failed to grace the tournament, England are indeed fortunate to have made it themselves, yet qualification isn’t something we tend to struggle with.

    Yes, it leaves the groups looking quite flexible and if England can top the group, well you may be thinking what I am right now.

    But again I come back to the fact that we struggle against sides we should be confident to play against, whilst being underprepared and out of depth when it comes to fancy the favourites of lifting the World Cup.

    I suppose it could be worse, host nation Russia have to fend off a decent Egypt and Uruguay who have some world class players.

    Yet if England had been drawn in Group A, I would have been confident that England should progress to the knockout stages.

    Overall I am just like meh when it comes to the draw, I’m not really excited and I can’t say I am surprised.

    Progression to the last 16 should be quite interesting, I do admit, yet with a chance for England to become complacent in the early stages of the competition, I do honestly feel like "here's a repeat of the Euros" and by this I mean largely playing poorly because we don’t seem to take these things very seriously anymore.

    The competition should be entertaining at least, with some good games such as Portugal v Spain – Argentina v Croatia – Germany v Mexico and of course ourselves in Belgium v England.

    It will also be interesting to see how the underdogs do, I always enjoy watching them progress and a few years back I actually tipped Costa Rica to do well (before they had played England).

    Let’s hope the Three Lions can draw from some inspiration, reflect on the draw and just finally believe in themselves.

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    Edited by CJ

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