england have been included in pot 1 for Friday’s world cup group stage draw, putting them among the elite teams for this winter’s tournament in qatar.
The status of the three lions as one of the top seeds means they cannot face any other team in Pot 1, which includes the top seven ranked teams from the latest FIFA standings, plus the host qatar.
Reading: World cup group f scenarios
However, there are still plenty of big names further down the rankings in Pots 2, 3 and 4 who could stand in the way of England and their first major trophy since 1966.
here, sports mole breaks down the best and worst case scenarios for gareth southgate‘s team in Friday’s draw.
best case scenario
group: england, united states, tunisia, new zealand
england could receive what, on paper at least, would be a very nice draw against the united states, tunisia and new zealand, the latter of which does not yet have a confirmed place in qatar.
the united states are ranked 15th in the world as things stand and while based on the rankings croatia would be an even kinder draw, most england fans would prefer to face the team from across the pond instead of the team that eliminated them. in the 2018 semifinals.
at the end, ee. uu. it needed a goal difference to finish above costa rica and automatically qualify for the world cup, finishing behind canada and mexico in the concacaf section.
Tunisia, meanwhile, just overtook Mali to book their place in a second successive World Cup, and at 35th in the world is the lowest ranked nation in Pot 3.
England were drawn in the same group as Tunisia four years ago in Russia, when they needed a harry kane goal in stoppage time for a 2-1 victory.
uefa is the only confederation that can have more than one team in any world cup group, meaning if england meet the united states and tunisia then they could not have another concacaf or caf nation in their group.
nevertheless, new zealand, ranked 101st in the world, would be their first choice from pot 4, although as winners of the ofc section, whites still need to overcome costa rica in a june playoff to confirm their spot in qatar.
If they fail to surprise in that game, England’s next best draw could be the United Arab Emirates, although they must also beat Australia first and then Peru to qualify.
worst case scenario
group: england, germany, senegal, ecuador
There are some big names in Pot 2, and none more so than England’s old rivals Germany, against whom they have endured so much heartbreak in major competitions in the past.
The three lions’ victory over the mannschaft en route to the euro 2020 final may have helped put some of those demons to bed, but not many england fans will be crossing their fingers for hostilities to resume in the group stage in qatar.
Even if they avoid four-time winners Germany, there are still some heavyweights who could lurk, including the Netherlands, Uruguay and Denmark, while according to FIFA, Mexico is the highest-ranked team in the world. hype 2.
There can be a maximum of two UEFA teams in any one group, so if a European nation from Pot 2 is drawn alongside England, it will at least eliminate the possibility of a tough matchup against Poland from Pot 3.
However, African champions Senegal would also provide a stubborn test, while Iran and Japan impressed during qualifying and could be tougher opponents than their previous pedigree might suggest.
ecuador would be the most avoided in pot 4, as they qualified with a game to spare in the competitive south america section, ahead of peru, colombia and chile.
if a uefa team is still eligible for pot 4, there is also the possibility of a british battle, although scotland or wales still have work to do to confirm their place in qatar.
fifa world cup full seeds
pot 1: qatar, belgium, brazil, france, argentina, england, spain, portugal
hype 2: denmark, netherlands, germany, mexico, united states, switzerland, croatia, uruguay
pot 3: senegal, iran, japan, morocco, serbia, poland, south korea, tunisia
pot 4: saudi arabia, ecuador, ghana, cameroon, canada, peru or australia/uae, new zealand/costa rica, wales or scotland/ukraine
> click here for everything you need to know about friday’s world cup group stage draw