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Shearer- England players will be happy with World Cup draw

Alan Shearer claims England will be happy with their group for the 2022 World Cup in Qatar, with the Three Lions facing the United States, Iran, and the final European play-off winner.

The draw means Gareth Southgate’s men could face a clash against rivals Wales or Scotland, with the Scots due to face Ukraine for a place in June’s play-off final in Cardiff.

It also threw up a repeat of England’s 2010 clash with the United States, with whom they shared a 1-1 draw in their opening game at the tournament in South Africa.

England has never faced Wales, Scotland, or Ukraine at the World Cup but did face a home nation in their last two European Championship campaigns, beating Wales 2-1 at Euro 2016 and drawing 0-0 with Scotland at Euro 2020.

Former England captain Shearer felt his nation should be pleased to have avoided many of the more significant countries and spoke of his excitement at the prospect of facing a rivalry match.

Shearer said to BBC Sport:

“Gareth will look at that and think it could have been more complicated.

“I am sure he and his players will be happy with that.

“This is the one thing in not having that ‘group of death’. It [the tournament] is pretty much open.

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“I have to say that I am pleased Scotland, Wales or Ukraine got put in England’s group.

“It adds that little bit more excitement. If it is Wales or Scotland, it makes it a bit tougher.

“Gareth Southgate would have taken that – deep down, without a doubt.

“He just can’t come out and say it just in case. He’s too professional to say it, but he’ll be more than happy.”

Meanwhile, former Scotland international James McFadden, who earned 48 caps for his country before serving as assistant manager, felt being in England’s group would provide Steve Clarke’s team with even more incentive to reach Qatar.

“It’s a big enough incentive to get to the World Cup but to be in a group with England is great and will motivate the players.

“We’ve got play-offs we have to worry about first. It won’t be easy against Ukraine.

“But, if we manage to get through that and play Wales in the final, that is a huge game.

“Scotland doesn’t have a bad record against Wales, and Scotland is in a good place.

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“Our performance at Wembley in the Euros showed the potential of this Scotland team.

“They’ve responded well to going out in the group stage at the Euros, and there’s competition all over the pitch.”

Former Wales skipper Ashley Williams was also pleased with his nation’s draw but insisted that Rob Page’s team would be desperate to reach their first World Cup since 1958 for their reasons.

Shearer said:

“No disrespect to anyone, all the teams are good, but it could have been a little more daunting in another potential group.

“I’m pretty happy, but there’s a lot of work to do before then.

“They [Wales] want to get there any way for their reasons [not purely to face England]. So one of Wales or Scotland usually draws England!”

England will begin their 16th appearance at the World Cup against Iran on November 21.

Before they face the United States on November 25 and wrap up their group campaign on November 29.

Likewise, for more football news like this, click here.

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