Roy Hodgson’s side will also take on Slovakia, Slovenia, Lithuania and Malta in Group F, a scenario that is likely to please both Hodgson and his Scotland counterpart Gordon Strachan.
Wales, like England, were one of the top seeded countries but they face an arguably tougher test if they are to qualify for the tournament in Russia.
Chris Coleman’s charges have been drawn in Group D along with the Republic of Ireland, Austria, Serbia, Moldova and Georgia.
But Northern Ireland would appear to have been handed the toughest task of the home nations.
Michael O’Neill’s team will take on Germany, Czech Republic and Norway in Group C, which also includes Azerbaijan and San Marino.
Elsewhere, Netherlands, France and Sweden have been drawn together in Group A, while Group G will see Spain and Italy go up against each other.
European qualifying competition draw
The nine group winners advance directly to the World Cup finals. The eight runners-up with the best record against the teams first, third, fourth and fifth in their groups proceed to play-offs to decide the remaining four European berths.
Tournament hosts Russia are given a bye to the finals.
Netherlands, France, Sweden, Bulgaria, Belarus, Luxembourg
Portugal, Switzerland, Hungary, Faroe Islands, Latvia, Andorra
Germany, Czech Republic, Northern Ireland, Norway, Azerbaijan, San Marino
Wales, Austria, Serbia, Republic of Ireland, Moldova, Georgia
Romania, Denmark, Poland, Montenegro, Armenia, Kazakhstan
England, Slovakia, Scotland, Slovenia, Lithuania, Malta
Spain, Italy, Albania, Israel, FYR Macedonia, Liechtenstein
Belgium, Bosnia, Greece, Estonia, Cyprus
Croatia, Iceland, Ukraine, Turkey, Finland