Spain, Portugal thrown together in World Cup

Danny Woods
December 4, 2017

The 2018 World Cup draw was held on Friday and the groups are now set.

Five-time victor Brazil, eager to exorcise the demons of 2014 and their 7-1 semi-final humiliation against Germany on home soil, will expect little trouble in progressing from Group E ahead of Switzerland, Costa Rica and Serbia.

Germany were placed with Mexico, Sweden and South Korea in Group F as Joachim Loew's men try to become the first nation to retain the title since Brazil in 1962.

Meanwhile, Lionel Messi and his Argentina team which struggled to qualify will play World Cup debutants Iceland as well as Croatia and Nigeria.

In a draw overseen by their former striker Gary Lineker, England were placed with Kevin de Bruyne's Belgium, surprise packages Panama and, in their opening game in Volgograd on June 18, Tunisia.

They will open their campaign against Uruguay on June 16 before meeting Russian Federation three days later and concluding their Group A campaign against Saudi Arabia on June 25. But their coach, who helmed them to Russian Federation without suffering a defeat in their qualifying matches, showed respect to the sides his team will face next summer, reports Xinhua news agency.

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France and their potent strikeforce featuring Antoine Griezmann and teenage sensation Kylian Mbappe will play Australia, Peru and Denmark in Group C.

"From the players' point of view, I'm sure they are very excited to play against Portugal and Spain and also Morocco, because it's a unique and rare opportunity for Iranian players to play against such great players and such great teams".

"They are the champions of Europe, they have fantastic players and we are talking about the highest level", Spain coach Julen Lopetegui told Spanish TV station Cuatro.

"We'll play against the current European champion, one of the best teams in the world", he said.

As for Russia's Group A, those four teams add up to a combined ranking of 180, 77 more than any other group. "I'm not familiar with any of our group's teams".

Group H: Poland, Colombia, Senegal and Japan. But he also conceded: "We just didn't want to get Spain from pot two".

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