Brazil, Denmark and Nigeria – England’s toughest possible World Cup draw
Seedings have been announced
Following the conclusion of the World Cup play-offs in the early hours of Wednesday morning, the seedings for the group stages in Russia have been announced.
England find themselves in pot two for the draw next month, alongside the likes of Spain, Switzerland and Uruguay.
Ahead of the draw in the Kremlin on Friday 1 December, the Coral News Team take a look at the worst possible scenario for Three Lions fans…
Pot 1 – Brazil
Behind only Germany in the rankings, Brazil are England’s toughest possible South American opponents. They qualified for the competition with flying colours and are the World Cup’s most decorated side with five final victories.
With the likes of Neymar, Philippe Coutinho, and Gabriel Jesus to call upon, Verde-Amarela have a forward line to be feared. England may have drawn 0-0 with the Brazilians at Wembley earlier this week, but in competitive action, the second-ranked side are a totally different prospect.
What’s more, they’ll be eager to put 2014’s humiliation on home soil behind them. Manager Tite will fancy his side’s chances in Russia next year at odds of 5/1 to lift the trophy.
Premier League players: Ederson (Manchester City), Danilo (Manchester City), David Luiz (Chelsea) Philippe Coutinho (Liverpool), Fernandinho (Manchester City), Willian (Chelsea), Gabriel Jesus (Manchester City), Roberto Firmino (Liverpool).
Pot 3 – Denmark
After missing out on a place in Brazil last time around, Denmark are back at the World Cup for the first time since 2010. They qualified with an emphatic 5-1 second-leg victory in the play-offs against the Republic of Ireland.
Christian Eriksen was the star of the show in that match and will be key if the Danes are to have any success in Russia. The Tottenham Hotspur midfielder is one of Europe’s hottest properties right now and is central to everything that De Rod-Hvide do well.
Although not considered among the favourites for the tournaments, Age Hareide’s will be optimistic of a good run. With a prolific forward line that has the ability to break at speed, Denmark could represent England’s worst nightmare if the pair are drawn together at next summer’s tournament.
Premier League & Championship players: Kasper Schmeichel (Leicester City), Jonas Lossl (Huddersfield Town), Jonus Knudsen (Ipswich Town), Andreas Christensen (Chelsea), Andreas Bjelland (Brentford), Mathias Jorgensen (Huddersfield Town), Christian Eriksen (Tottenham Hotspur), Martin Braithwaite (Middlesbrough), Henrik Dalsgaard (Brentford).
Pot 4 – Nigeria
Nigeria may be in pot four, but they’re a side filled with top-class talent. Led by head-coach Salisu Yusuf, the Super Eagles went unbeaten in the final phase of African qualifying and recently beat Argentina 4-2 in a friendly.
They have some World Cup pedigree as well. The 2013 African Cup of Nations champions have been present at four of their last five World Cups and reached the round of 16 in Brazil.
With players like Alex Iwobi, Kelechi Iheanacho and John Obi Mikel to call upon, the second-highest ranked nation in the final pot have the perfect mix of youth and experience to cause some serious problems next summer.
Premier League and Championship players: Ola Aina (Hull City), Wilfred Ndidi (Leicester City), Ahmed Musa (Leicester City), Kelechi Iheanacho (Leicester City), Alex Iwobi (Arsenal), Victor Moses (Chelsea).
All Odds and Markets are correct as of the date of publishing