England issued Wales warning by Rio Ferdinand ahead of potential World Cup clash

World Cup 2022 draw: Who are England's opponents?

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The World Cup group stage draw on Friday saw England pitted against Iran, USA and one of Wales, Scotland or Ukraine in what has been described as an easy draw for Gareth Southgate’s men. But Rio Ferdinand has warned the Three Lions that if Wales prevail from their play-off against Scotland or Ukraine, they could pack a surprise.

England qualified for the tournament without losing and conceded just three goals in a group that featured Poland, Albania and Hungary. As a result, they went into the main draw in pot one, giving them the best chance of progressing to the knockout rounds.

Fans were undeniably delighted when they drew Iran and the USA as their first two opponents, with many dubbing the draw as the ‘best possible scenario’. But their final opponents will be one of Scotland, Wales or Ukraine – posing a potential problem.

And although fans are oozing confidence ahead of the tournament in November, Ferdinand has thrown doubt over the Three Lions’ chances against Rob Page’s men. “If you play against a home nation in a tournament, it is always going to be difficult and there is that extra pressure riding on it, especially with the likes of Gareth Bale,” Ferdinand said on BT Sport.

“We have seen what Wales have done in recent tournaments, they come alive. They have players that have experienced these types of situations at big tournaments and they are ready for the big stages and to create the big moments.

“But again, Ukraine, the political side of that, the emotional side of that. Listen, it looks easier on paper for England, but you never anticipate an easy game whenever you put on an England shirt.”

England played Wales at Euro 2016 when Roy Hodgson was manager, and won 2-1 thanks to a last-minute goal from Daniel Sturridge. However, the Dragons advanced to the semi-final in just their second-ever appearance at a major tournament with impressive wins over Northern Ireland and Belgium.

They failed to qualify for the World Cup in 2018, but again impressed in a tough group at Euro 2020 by progressing against Italy, Switzerland and Turkey.

England are currently third favourites to win the World Cup behind Brazil and France.

And they start their campaign on November 21 against Iran in Al Rayyan.

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