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England’s World Cup schedule: Dates and times of group games

A look at the opposition Gareth Southgate’s side will be facing in Group G.

Awaiting England at the World Cup are matches against Tunisia and Panama before a meeting with Belgium in Group G.

Here, we take a closer look at the opposition Gareth Southgate’s side will be facing.

Thursday June 7 – England v Costa Rica (8pm kick-off)

Wayne Rooney goes close with a header against Costa Rica four years ago
Wayne Rooney goes close with a header against Costa Rica four years ago (Nick Potts/PA)

La Tricolor will provide the opposition at Elland Road in England’s final match before heading to Russia.

The only time these countries have met came four years ago in Brazil when England’s woeful World Cup campaign ended with a fittingly substandard performance in a goalless draw.

Having been eliminated in the group stage for the first time since 1958, Roy Hodgson’s side were hoping to restore some pride but a turgid draw saw them end up with their lowest World Cup points tally.

Costa Rica ended up winning that group and then beat Greece on penalties in the round of 16 before suffering on spot-kicks to Holland in the quarter-finals.

In qualifying for the World Cup, they accumulated 16 points from 10 games to finish runners-up behind Mexico in the CONCACAF region.

Monday June 18 – Tunisia v England (7pm kick-off)

England captain Alan Shearer celebrates his goal against Tunisia
England captain Alan Shearer celebrates his goal against Tunisia (Sean Dempsey/PA)

After losing their opener to Italy in Brazil four years ago, and then being held by Russia at Euro 2016, England will be determined to make a winning start to ease the pressure.

They met Tunisia in their first group game in France in 1998 – the only time these two nations have faced each other – and registered a 2-0 victory.

Captain Alan Shearer opened the scoring three minutes before half-time and then Paul Scholes made sure of the points with a minute remaining.

Tunisia are back at a World Cup after a 12-year absence but they have never managed to advance past the group stage.

They went through qualifying unbeaten, picking up four wins in a six-match unbeaten run which helped them edge out the Democratic Republic of Congo in their section.

Sunday June 24 – England v Panama (1pm kick-off)

England will face Panama for the first time when they meet in the second round of Group G fixtures.

The Three Lions will be overwhelming favourites to pick up the win which will hopefully set up a clash with Belgium which should decide who tops the group.

Panama are participating in their first World Cup having finished third behind Mexico and Costa Rica in the CONCACAF region.

A dramatic 2-1 win over La Tricolor in their final qualifier secured their place in Russia and was just their third victory in 10 matches in their pool.

Los Canaleros proved mainly hard to beat – a 4-0 loss to USA aside – and conceded just 10 goals in as many qualifiers, though just nine scored highlighted their issues at the other end.

Thursday June 28 – England v Belgium (7pm kick-off)

England’s David Platt scored a last-gasp winner against Belgium at Italia '90
England’s David Platt scored a last-gasp winner against Belgium at Italia ’90 (Peter Robinson/Empics)

This match in Kaliningrad is expected to decide who tops Group G.

Both nations have been guilty of under-performing at major tournaments in recent times but came through qualifying unbeaten.

The Three Lions won eight and drew two of their 10 matches – scoring 18 goals and leaking just three – while the Red Devils rattled in 43 goals and allowed just six as they picked up nine victories and one draw.

Belgium have a wretched record against England, winning just two of their 21 meetings – prevailing on penalties after a goalless draw in the King Hassan II International Cup Tournament in 1998 and 3-2 in a friendly in 1936.

The last time these sides met at a major tournament came at Italia ’90 when David Platt’s goal with a minute of extra-time remaining propelled England to the quarter-finals.

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