It's very deceptive Group: Portugal Coach Fernando Santos

Ruben Ruiz
December 4, 2017

The middle-eastern nation were the first Asian team to qualify for Russian Federation 2018, but after being drawn against Portugal, Spain and Morocco in Group B Queiroz laid out a stark choice for those in charge.

A fairly balanced draw left the 6,000 dignitaries assembled at the State Kremlin Arena in Moscow with no standout "group of death" to mull over, although some intriguing matchups do lie ahead once the tournament kicks off next summer. "It is an honor for Morocco to play against the Spanish team that is very strong, and Portugal, European champion".

Cristiano Ronaldo's Portugal - who claimed Euro 2016 - and Spain headline the group but Santos is wary of Morocco and Iran, who made it through their respective CAF and AFC qualifying campaigns undefeated.

Lionel Messi's quest to deliver World Cup glory for Argentina could pit the two-time champions against a handful of familiar faces in a potential quarter-final showdown with Spain.

Neymar's Brazil must negotiate a group including Switzerland, Costa Rica and Serbia as the South Americans seek a sixth title.

England manager Gareth Southgate said his mind went back to playing in the 2-0 group-stage win over Tunisia at the 1998 World Cup.

Iceland - one of the two newcomers at the World Cup along with Panama - is the smallest ever nation to qualify for the World Cup with a population of about 335,000.

Russian Federation will play Saudi Arabia in the opening game of next year's World Cup, a match between the lowest ranked teams in the FIFA rankings. "This will be an exciting World Cup".

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"He told me just one thing - number 10", a laughing Hallgrimsson said in reference to Messi's number.

Renard added that his team is going to play its matches in St. Petersburg and Moscow.

Argentina would likely face Spain in the quarterfinals, and Germany/Colombia/Poland/England/Belgium in the semifinals.

Also in the group are Uruguay and Egypt.

The French team and their potent strike force of Antoine Griezmann will play Australia, Peru and Denmark in Group C.

Spain coach Julen Lopetegui said the pairing with Portugal leaves little room for error.

Lopetegui highlighted that Morocco "have very interesting players and the majority of them play in Europe, also they have not lost any games".

Group H: Poland, Colombia, Senegal and Japan.

Other reports by GizPress

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