Final draw for 2018 World Cup held in Moscow

Final draw for 2018 World Cup held in Moscow

Russian authorities deny government involvement in doping and the country has weathered Federation Internationale de Football Association corruption investigations, concerns about hooliganism, racism around games, deaths on World Cup construction sites and a sponsor shortfall to stay on track to host soccer's biggest tournament for the first time.

In the draw, the 32 countries were divided into four "pots".

The 2018 world cup draw was held on Friday at the State Kremlin Palace in Moscow, Russia.

The hosts, who are the lowest ranked going into the event, will kick-start the event against the second lowest ranked Saudi Arabia and it might just set the tone for the tournament.

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But Egypt might be the surprise package of the group and will have hopes of proceeding to the second round.

European champions Portugal are facing a tough match-up with Spain in Group B, but with Morocco and Iran as the preliminary-round opponents, berths for them to the next round are much easier than other powerhouses. Spain eliminated Portugal in the round of 16 of the 2010 World Cup and the semifinals of Euro 2012. Group F has Germany, the No. 1 team in the world; Mexico; Sweden, which may have been the top team from Pot 3; and South Korea. There's not a very lucky group, or very unlucky groups. A clash between England and ever-improving Belgium will be the one to watch. Also in Group E is Costa Rica from CONCACAF. First-time qualifiers Panama are not expected to pose a serious threat to the top two contenders. Group D also features Croatia, who was defeated 1-0 by Argentina in the 1998 group stage, their only previous World Cup meeting.

Germany, Brazil and Argentina are all in the first pot along with France, Portugal, Belgium, Poland and Russian Federation. And France are expected to easily win Group C, where they have Peru, Denmark and Australia to contend with.

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