If they once again just fall short then Southgate's Soldiers will have a third summer in a row to get it to come back to where it belongs in Euro 2020.
Northern Ireland manager Michael O'Neill says their Euro 2020 qualifying group will be "extremely difficult" and the nature of the draw was "hard to take".
However, more than two host nations for the tournament could not be put in the same group.
The qualifying process is condensed because of this year's Uefa Nations League group games, with England and Scotland guaranteed a Euro 2020 play-off place - should they fail to qualify via their regular qualifying group - after winning their Nations League section.
Wales will meet Croatia, Slovakia, Hungary and Azerbaijan in Group E while Scotland were drawn against Belgium, Russia, San Marino, Cyprus and Kazakhstan.
Wales face World Cup finalists Croatia, Scotland, who also have a play-off to look forward to if they don't qualify, are joined by Belgium and Russian Federation and Republic of Ireland are up against Switzerland and Denmark, who beat them in qualification for last summer's World Cup.
The Euro 2020 qualifiers will take place between March and November 2019, with the victor and runner-up of each group going through directly.
Their neighbours the Republic of Ireland were initially drawn in Group C but were switched due to a rule that prevents more than two host countries competing in any one group.
Holders Portugal must face Ukraine and Serbia in a tricky five-team Group B which also includes Lithuania and Luxemburg while world champions France drew Iceland and Turkey in Group H. The Euro 2020 final will be held at London's Wembley Stadium.
Joachim Loew's side will also face Northern Ireland, who they met at the Euro 2016 finals, as well as Estonia and Belarus in Group C.
As for Wales, they will tackle World Cup runners-up Croatia, Slovakia, Hungary and Azerbaijan in Group E.
Group F:Spain, Sweden, Norway, Romania, Faroe Islands, Malta.
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