After meeting England in Volgograd, Tunisia - appearing at their fifth finals, and first since 2006 - meet Belgium in Moscow on 23 June before finishing against Panama in Saransk on 28 June.
Early favourites Brazil also have a hard assignment - Group E features two European sides in Switzerland and Serbia, and Costa Rica, who progressed from England's group in 2014.
"It's a really exciting draw, for everybody".
"We have a group chat where there is always banter flying".
"Tunisia and Panama, we have to do more research on", he said.
Despite being handed a relatively kind draw, Southgate says his men must do the background work to ensure they are prepared to deliver the goods when they come up against Tunisia and Panama.
"It was a brilliant occasion so to be leading the country out into that same occasion, the first game of the World Cup, I am hugely proud". Wahbi Khazri is perhaps their best-known player following two years at Sunderland, but it is a squad without star quality.
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"We've obviously not been following their games in our qualifying phase".
Southgate pointed to England's premature exits from the last World Cup and Euro 2016 as reasons for limiting expectations.
"It is a game where there are no secrets - no secrets about Belgium from England or for us about the England team". "We are excited by the players we are working with and looking forward to seeing that journey develop".
It gets some of the younger lads, who may not have played in a major tournament before, into the tournament nice and gets them a run into the Belgium game.
"We have to pay great attention to England and Belgium without forgetting Panama, who could be a surprise".
"They are clearly favourites from what we have seen in recent years, with the coach they have, and then second place I honestly think will be between England and us".