Rarely in the 52 years since Bobby Moore hoisted the Jules Rimet trophy above his head will public expectation for England's chances at a World Cup have been lower.
A first group-stage exit from the competition since 1958 befell Roy Hodgson's side in Brazil four years ago, with defeat in their opening two matches seeing their elimination confirmed with a game still to spare.
Things have arguably got even worse since Brazil, though, with an ignominious early exit at the hands of Iceland in the European Championships two years ago making it successive embarrassments on the world stage.It is no surprise, then, that not much is expected of England this summer, but without the usual weight of expectation on their shoulders, Southgate will be hoping that his young side can playing more freely and unshackle themselves from what seems to have become a burden of playing for England in recent years.
Here, Sports Mole previews England's chances at this summer's World Cup.
The draw could have been a lot worse for England, who will be expected to tussle with Belgium for top spot in Group G.
Southgate will hope to have qualification wrapped up by the time his side face Belgium in Kaliningrad on June 28.
ENGLAND FIXTURESJune 18: Tunisia vs. England (7pm, Volgograd Arena, Volgograd)
June 24: England vs. Panama (1pm, Nizhny Novgorod Stadium, Nizhny Novgorod)
June 28: England vs. Belgium (7pm, Kaliningrad Stadium, Kaliningrad)
HOW THEY QUALIFIED
As is often the case, England cruised through their qualification campaign with few scares along the way, eventually finishing eight points clear of neighbours Scotland at the top of Group F.
Southgate's side were one of only four teams to go through the qualifying campaign unbeaten, alongside the perfect Germany and the almost-perfect Spain and Belgium - the latter of whom will, of course, face England in the groups at this summer's tournament.
England qualified with a game to spare and boasted the joint-best defensive record of any team in the groups, conceding only three goals in their 10 matches while scoring 18. Furthermore, they have now gone 39 qualifying matches without losing across their two major summer tournaments.
Compare that to some of the favourites in Russia: Belgium won seven of their 10 games by more than a one-goal margin, including three by six or more; Spain also had at least a two-goal cushion in seven of their matches, including two 8-0 wins; Portugal went one better with eight, while Germany only failed to win one of their matches by at least a two-goal margin.
Let us not forget either that England won all 10 of their qualifying matches for Euro 2016, only to crash out at the hands of minnows Iceland in the first knockout round.
England will travel to the World Cup on the back of a 10-match unbeaten streak stretching back more than a year, including encouraging victories over both Nigeria and Costa Rica in their two warm-up games.
An impressive first-half display during the 2-1 triumph over Nigeria at Wembley will have pleased Southgate, although the better performance was actually delivered by the fringe players in Leeds on Thursday as they ran out 2-0 winners over Costa Rica.
England have also recorded draws with world champions Germany, five-time World Cup winners Brazil and four-time winners Italy since booking their place in Russia, in addition to picking up a 1-0 win in the Netherlands earlier this year.
All of that has contributed to England's longest unbeaten streak since a 15-game run which followed their exit from the last World Cup, leaving them in a positive frame of mind ahead of this summer's tournament.
Defenders: Trent Alexander-Arnold (Liverpool), Gary Cahill (Chelsea), Fabian Delph (Manchester City), Phil Jones (Manchester United), Harry Maguire (Leicester), Danny Rose (Tottenham), John Stones (Manchester City), Kieran Trippier (Tottenham), Kyle Walker (Manchester City), Ashley Young (Manchester United).
Midfielders: Dele Alli, Eric Dier (both Tottenham), Jordan Henderson (Liverpool), Jesse Lingard (Manchester United), Ruben Loftus-Cheek (Chelsea).
Forwards: Harry Kane (Tottenham), Marcus Rashford (Manchester United), Raheem Sterling (Manchester City), Jamie Vardy (Leicester), Danny Welbeck (Arsenal).
STAR PLAYER - Harry Kane
Fresh off the back of his first 30-goal season in the Premier League, Kane has established himself as one of the top strikers in world football over the past few years and could be one of the stars at his first World Cup.
The 24-year-old has scored 13 goals in 24 appearances for England, including eight in his last seven since the beginning of 2017.
Kane should have plenty of support from those around him, particularly the likes of Raheem Sterling and club teammate Dele Alli, but there is no doubt that he is the star man for the Three Lions.
MANAGER - Gareth Southgate
The 47-year-old was initially appointed on a caretaker basis, but was handed the full-time reins after going through a four-match trial period unbeaten, finishing with a draw against Spain at Wembley in November 2016.
Southgate earned his stripes at international level with the England Under-21 team prior to his appointment, and he also spent more than three years in charge of Middlesbrough from 2006 to 2009.
A former international himself, Southgate was part of the England squad at the 1998 and 2002 World Cups, although the abiding memory of his 57-cap career for his country is his miss in the penalty shootout against Germany at Euro 1996.
WORLD CUP RECORD
Best finish: Winners (1966)
Aside from that, the Three Lions' best showing in this competition was their run to the semi-finals in 1990, when this time their dreams were ended by eventual champions West Germany, leaving the whole country as teary-eyed as Paul Gascoigne.
Four years ago England were knocked out in the group stages for the first time since 1958, recording their worst-ever finish at a World Cup, while four years before that in South Africa they were eliminated in the last 16 - again by Germany.
The Three Lions have not reached the quarter-finals since the days of Sven-Goran Eriksson, then, achieving back-to-back last-eight finishes in 2002 and 2006, but never making it further under the Swede.
In all, England have played 62 games at the World Cup, winning 26 of those, drawing 20 and losing 16.
England's progress this summer could rely on whether they clinch top spot in Group G or not. Winning the group could set up a last-16 showdown with Poland, which would perhaps be the preferable choice to facing Colombia in the first knockout round.
Unfortunately for the Three Lions, we expect Belgium to pip them to top spot, and for England to fall at the hands of the South Americans in the last 16.
VERDICT: Last 16