Egypt to face hosts Russia, Uruguay and Saudi Arabia in Group A

Ruben Hill
December 7, 2017

Ronaldo's battle against Spain and many of his Real Madrid teammates in Sochi on June 15 is mouthwatering to say the least. This quadrennial tournament was mapped out by Friday's draw in the Kremlin. Incredibly, Panama reached Russian Federation with a negative goal difference (-1), while no player scored more than twice for them in the CONCACAF section.

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. Tunisia and debutant Panama complete this group.

England could, in theory, find itself on a collision course with Germany and Spain if it fails to win its group.

Moscow just hosted the 2018 World Cup draw. He said he had already spoken to his scout in Argentina.

"You know football, you always have a chance", said Iceland coach Heimir Hallgrimsson.

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.

Only four teams have made more World Cup appearances than Mexico, but they boast an unenviable record of having been knocked out of the last 16 in each of the last six World Cups.

Meanwhile, reigning world champions Germany, the much-fancied Brazil of Neymar, and France will all be pleased with their draws, but the prospects appear tougher for Argentina. But that could depend on the outcome of their final group game. "If you're playing the World Cup, you want to face the best".

Germany was 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.

"I am certainly not scared", Loew told ZDF television.

Iceland, sensations at Euro 2016 where they knocked out England to reach the quarter-finals, are the smallest nation by population ever to qualify but can not be taken lightly while Croatia boast creative talents such as Real Madrid's Luka Modric and Barcelona's Ivan Rakitic. "This will be an exciting World Cup".

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.

Peru and Denmark's reward for coming through playoff clashes last month are places in Group C alongside France - benefitting from a stellar generation headed by Paul Pogba, Antoine Griezmann and Kylian Mbappe - and Australia. If ever there is a time to make a statement, it is in Moscow as the two lowest-ranked teams meet. The Socceroos' assistant coach, Ante Milicic, was optimistic though.

"Although it's a hard group, we believe in ourselves and definitely we can advance from the group", he said. Only Europe can have two teams in the same group.

Poland, spearheaded by Bayern Munich striker Robert Lewandowski and ranked seventh in the world, cruised through qualifying and will fancy their chances of topping a group that includes Senegal, Colombia and Japan. The World Cup will kick-off on June the 14th of 2018 with Russian Federation hosting Saudi Arabia at Moscow's Luzhnikí stadium. They surprised many at Euro 2016, knocking out England before falling to hosts France in the quarter-finals, and could land an early blow on Argentina, who needed some Messi magic in their final group stage qualifier to scrape qualification.

Other reports by Click Lancashire

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