Spain and Portugal drawn in same World Cup group

Spain and Portugal drawn in same World Cup group

Spain coach Julen Lopetegui believes an enticing clash with European champions Portugal, led by World Player of the Year Cristiano Ronaldo, to start their World Cup campaign leaves the 2010 champions with little room for error in Russian Federation next year.

"Iran has experience and the coach is also one of the most experienced in this World Cup".

Holders Germany will face Mexico, Sweden and South Korea as they try to retain the title for the first time since Brazil in 1962.

While the tournament has been much anticipated for being the first world cup that is to be played in Europe since 2006, the security concerns following threatening posters released by the Islamic State (IS), have raised it to a new high.

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

A World Cup shrouded in corruption controversies and struggling to attract sponsors could have the dreariest of starts. "The only thing we know is that [Liverpool forward Mohamed] Salah plays for Egypt ... and that [Edinson] Cavani and Luis [Suarez] play for Uruguay".

Former England striker-turned television presenter Gary Lineker oversaw the draw and his nation will be pleased after Diego Maradona, who knocked Lineker's England out of the 1986 World Cup with his infamous "Hand of God" goal, drew Gareth Southgate's men in Group G with Belgium, Tunisia and debutants Panama.

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Japan will face a tough task to finish in the top two of Group H that features Robert Lewandowski's Poland, Sadio Mane's Senegal and Colombia.

"We've been good at writing teams off and then getting beat". "We have 25 players in the British game".

Five-time winners 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. "That brings that competitive level".

"It could have been worse", France coach Didier Deschamps said.

The ceremony was opened by Russian President Vladimir Putin, one day short of the seventh anniversary of the Federation Internationale de Football Association executive committee vote that awarded the 2018 World Cup to Russia and the 2022 tournament to Qatar - the subject of bribe allegations against soccer executives brought up almost daily in NY during a corruption trial against top soccer officials.

The glitzy draw, featuring a short speech from Russian President Vladimir Putin, also laid out potential routes to the final, revealing tantalising prospects such as a Spain versus Argentina quarter-final, and possible semi-finals of Spain against Germany or France versus Brazil. Putin urged fans to visit and enjoy his "big and multi-faceted" country, a rallying cry which follows concerns about racism and hooliganism.

"We will do everything to make it a major sporting festival", Putin said, anticipating a World Cup of "friendship and fair play, values that do not change with time".