Southgate's young charges however come to Russian Federation quietly confident after a solid qualifying campaign and encouraging friendly results against the likes of Brazil, Germany, Italy and the Netherlands.
Belgium's squad oozes talent and has been described as the "Golden Generation". "You know the English team are strong, they can play even 100 minutes and we have to fight to manage 90 minutes at the same pace the Europeans play". "Football is the most popular sport at the moment but it's not the only one".
Spaniard Roberto Martinez was a left-field choice to replace Marc Wilmots after Euro 2016 and the former Everton boss seems no nearer to solving the puzzle of getting Eden Hazard and Kevin De Bruyne playing to their sky-high potential in the same side. "The team has grown a lot over the last years and I'm sure they will be a force to be reckoned with", the ambassador concluded.
After Mexico's victory against Germany on Sunday, the second match in Group F, between Sweden and South Korea, suddenly felt a lot more significant, with the loser nearly certain to go home, barring an unlikely win against Germany. Lingard may only have one global goal to his name, but he has a reputation for scoring in big games for United, having notched in both the Community Shield and FA Cup final.
The Swedes come to Russian Federation at the dawning of the "post-Zlatan" era, after their talismanic striker Zlatan Ibrahimovic retired from internationals after the last Euros. It's remarkable that of the 13 European teams to have played so far in Russian Federation 2018, only one (Germany!) has lost.
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However, the three-year-old then spotted that her great-grandmother was waving to the crowds and made a decision to follow suit. The cute moment was picked up on by her mother Kate , who looked over her shoulder and smiled knowingly at Prince William .
While Panama face an uphill battle, Gomez and veteran goalkeeper Jaime Penedo are determined to make their country proud at the showpiece event, having denied the United States a spot at the World Cup following a gruelling and dramatic qualifying campaign.
Hazard and De Bruyne combined brilliantly on the edge of the box, the latter's sublime floated cross to the back post providing Lukaku - who hit 11 goals in qualifying - a simple headed finish.
The Sweden vs. South Korea game was one of the poorest of the tournament so far, with the Asian nation failing to muster a single shot on target.
They will need to summon the spirit of their 2002 home heroics in order to extricate themselves from what is arguably 2018's toughest group.
I think his team are ready to become a winning team.
Germany are licking their wounds after slumping 1-0 to a Hirving Lozano strike in Moscow's Luzhniki Stadium - the first time they have lost their opening game of a World Cup since 1982.