2018 Fifa World Cup group draw: England face Belgium, Senegal, Japan in practice run by host Gary Lineker

Tom Doyle

England got an early taste of what the 2018 World Cup draw has in store as Gary Lineker revealed that Thursday's practice run pitted the Three Lions against Belgium, Senegal and Japan.

The Three Lions qualified for next summer's finals in Russia with ease, but are in pot two of four as 32 teams wait to learn their fate in the draw on December 1.

Former England striker Lineker, who won the golden boot at the 1986 World Cup, has been chosen to conduct the draw in Moscow’s State Kremlin Palace along with Russian sports journalist Maria Komandnaya.

Lineker - who will be helped by seven other draw assistants on the day - revealed on Thursday that a dry run of the draw saw Gareth Southgate's side drawn in Group B alongside Roberto Martinez's high-flying Belgium (pot 1), Senegal (pot 3) and Japan (pot 4).

The 56-year-old wrote on Twitter: "Just had my first production and logistics meeting for next week’s @FIFAWorldCup draw. Had a quick run through (it’s complicated) and England ended up in Group B with Belgium, Senegal and Japan."

While England managed to avoid any previous World Cup winners in the practice draw, Lineker also revealed that Mexico were pitted in a "group of death" against Argentina, France and Nigeria.

Here is everything you need to know about the draw...

When and where is it?

The draw will take place on December 1 in the Russian capital of Moscow and will be held at the State Kremlin Palace.

Which nations have qualified?

Joining hosts Russia are: Egypt, Nigeria, Morocco, Senegal, Tunisia, Iran, Japan, South Korea, Saudi Arabia, Mexico, Costa Rica, Panama, Belgium, England, Germany, Iceland, Poland, Serbia, Spain, France, Portugal, Croatia, Switzerland, Denmark, Sweden, Argentina, Brazil, Colombia, Uruguay, Australia, Peru.

How does the draw work?

The teams involved are divided into four pots, in order of their FIFA world ranking.

In Pot 1 will be Russia along with the top seven sides in the rankings. Pot 2 will contain the next eight sides in the rankings, and so on for the final two pots.

Once the pots are decided eight groups of four nations will be drawn for the World Cup, which begins on June 14 next year.

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