Russia Draws 'Advantageous' Group for Home World Cup

Russia Draws 'Advantageous' Group for Home World Cup

Soccer Football - 2018 FIFA World Cup Draw - State Kremlin Palace, Moscow, Russia - Dec 1, 2017 General view during the draw.

But he also conceded: "We just didn't want to get Spain from pot two".

Group F is the arguable group of death, made up of reigning World Champions Germany, Mexico, South Korea and Italy's conquerors, Sweden.

Despite the pairing with the European heavyweights, the 1998 African Footballer of the Year admitted that their encounter against Carlos Queiroz's men at the Saint Petersburg Stadium on June 15 will be decisive for their progress to the next round.

Lionel Messi's Argentina, beaten by Germany in the last World Cup final and still awaiting their first title since 1986, will face Croatia and Nigeria as well as Iceland.

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

Being in a group with a much fancied France side desperate to go a step further in this tournament then they did at Euro 2016, means Peru, Denmark and Australia are all destined to be desperately vying to claim second place in Group C. Egypt and Uruguay are also in Group A.

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While this group is expected to be a simple race to the top between England and Belgium with both having players like Harry Kane and Kevin De Bruyne respectively, Panama and Tunisia may not really affect the expected results of the group. Those burdened with the unenviable task of being in the same group as the tournament favourites are, Costa Rica, Switzerland and Serbia, all of which are likely to be fighting it out for second spot in Group E. "We have 25 players in the British game".

"It will be a tough game because we watched Iran in qualifying and they have a very good team and a very good spirit". That brings that understanding. Jorge Sampaoli's team will have to improve in order to come through a tricky group with an Iceland side that continue to defy the odds, Nigeria and the always unsafe Croatia.

Group H, the only group not to include a former World Cup victor, features world No 7 Poland, No 13 Colombia, along with Senegal and Asian giants Japan.

With nearly half of those who responded to our poll believing that the Pharaohs have the easiest draw of Africa's five, don't be surprised if Mohamed Salah and co. mark their return to the grandest stage of all after three decades away by advancing to the knockouts.

Russian President Vladimir Putin said in a speech at the draw ceremony that Russia had a "strong affection" for football. Putin urged fans to visit and enjoy his “big and multi-faceted” country, a rallying cry which follows concerns about racism and hooliganism.

"The match against Morocco will be like our World Cup final - we'll play like we are playing for our lives", said Queiroz.

The International Olympic Committee executive board will decide on Tuesday (Wednesday NZT) whether to ban Russian Federation from the upcoming 2018 Pyeongchang Winter Olympics.

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