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World Cup Group G: Belgium, Panama, Tunisia, England

ESPN FC's Stewart Robson reckons Group G is easy for England.

Of the groups with two European sides, this one is only upstaged by Group B with Portugal and Spain.

England know better than to underestimate anyone after the goalless draws with Algeria in 2010 and Costa Rica in 2014.

Tunisia will be hungry upon qualifying for the first time since 2006, while Panama are already national heroes and won't be playing under any pressure.

Predicted finish

1. Belgium -- Roberto Martinez the manager was made in England and he will no doubt show the Three Lions great respect. But Belgium have to aim to outperform their 1986 team that finished fourth.

2. England -- After the under-17s and U20s won major tournaments in the summer, it's unrealistic to expect the senior team to follow in their footsteps. Improvement of their exit at the group stage in Brazil last time out is a must, particularly as this group isn't as strong as the one England drew in Brazil.

3. Panama -- World Cup debutants, Panama have made it clear they want to enjoy the experience and learn from it. Upsetting Belgium or England or just getting a first-ever World Cup win would be cause of great celebration.

4. Tunisia -- Back at the World Cup for the first time in 12 years, the Tunisians can give England the jitters in the opening game, a repeat of 1998 in Marseille.


Group G
It could be close but Belgium may just edge England.


Must-see match: England vs. Belgium

Memories of Italia 1990 and David Platt's winning goal in Bologna will come flooding back when England play Belgium in Volgograd on June 18. This is, in many respects, as close to a Premier League match as we will get at the World Cup, with so many of Belgium's internationals based in England.

They are opponents England know well, but that doesn't make the task of stopping Eden Hazard and Kevin De Bruyne and getting past Toby Alderweireld, Jan Vertonghen and Thibaut Courtois any less daunting.

Belgium celeb
Romelu Lukaku and Eden Hazard will be among the familiar faces awaiting England in Russia.

X factor: the Red Devils

We've been saying this for some time now, but Belgium need to deliver. If the last World Cup felt a little too soon for them, more was expected at Euro 2016. The issue isn't the talent Belgium have at their disposal, but the manager.

Belgium were unbeaten in qualifying and top scorers with Germany in Europe, but how much they've genuinely progressed under Martinez is subject to debate, particularly after De Bruyne questioned their tactics after a friendly with Mexico.

James covers the Italian Serie A and European football for ESPN FC Follow him on Twitter @JamesHorncastle.


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