England have suffered disappointment in recent major tournaments, not winning a knockout game since the 2006 World Cup in Germany, but Southgate does not want a defeatist attitude to set in.
"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".
Southgate, however, has another reason to be happy about playing the North African side first as he made his World Cup debut in England's 2-0 win over Tunisia at France 98.
With the top two teams in each pool going through to the second round, Belgium and England will be huge favourites to make it out of Group G. We've got to remember where we are starting from with this group of young players.
"What's exciting for our team is, although we lack some big match experience and we don't have at the moment trophies and medals on the table for a lot of the lads, I think that's all ahead for them and what's possible is exciting".
The Belgian defender looked less than impressed at being drawn alongside England
Former England global Southgate played against Tunisia at France 98. "It was a fantastic day and it's nice to be able to relive that". We have come unstuck against supposedly lesser nations in the past and we have had really good results against teams that would be seeded higher than us.
"There's a little bit of travelling (after the first game) and maybe gives us the opportunity for injuries if we get them to clear up". You're never quite sure how many points you need for that and there will be ups and downs along the way I'm sure. For me personally it's been an incredible journey. "To lead my country there as a manager is beyond that".
The hotel is functional and a long way from the previous high-end establishments the England players will be used to.
At around 3pm today Gary Lineker will either celebrate a favourable World Cup draw for England or look on in anguish as we prepare to face Brazil or Argentina in next year's tournament.
When questioned by Sky Sports News' Chief News Reporter Bryan Swanson, Southgate said: "People have asked me that for a few months and I could have wasted hours plotting different charts but in the end you can't affect that".
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The last game of the group will be against two-time World champions Argentina at the St Petersburg Stadium on June 26. Iceland coach Heimir Hallgrimsson is excited about a "romantic" World Cup debut against Lionel Messi and Argentina .