New York: Following a long road of qualifying joy and heartache, the 2018 FIFA World Cup Russia finally got into “game mode” after the Final Draw in Moscow’s Kremlin State Palace.
According to CNN, Hosts Russia will open the event against Saudi Arabia at Moscow’s Luzhniki Stadium on 14 June in Group A, while defending champions Germany were drawn into a tough Group F along with Mexico, Sweden and Korea Republic. The 2010 World Cup winners Spain were placed in the same group as Cristiano Ronaldo’s European champions Portugal, while England will face talented Belgium side at the World Cup.
Meanwhile, Lionel Messi and his Argentina team which struggled to qualify will play World Cup debutants Iceland as well as Croatia and Nigeria. Five-time champions Brazil will play against Switzerland in Rostov and has further pairings with Costa Rica and Serbia. The French team and their potent strike force of Antoine Griezmann will play Australia, Peru and Denmark in Group C.
The tournament that spans 11 cities and 12 stadiums will kick off when host nation Russia take on Saudi Arabia on June 14 in Moscow’s Luzhniki Stadium. The Final Draw ceremony took place inside the walls of the Kremlin with Gary Lineker hosting and an array of high-profile names on hand to assist with the draw.
The ceremony had Legends of the game representing the eight previous World Cup-winning nations, which included Brazil’s Cafu, Italy’s Fabio Cannavaro, Uruguay’s Diego Forlan, Germany’s Miroslav Klose, Argentina’s Diego Maradona and Spain’s Carles Puyol.
Here are the final groups –
Group A: Russia, Uruguay, Egypt and Saudi Arabia, Group B: Spain, Portugal and Iran and Morocco, Group C: France, Peru and Denmark and Australia, Group D: Argentina, Croatia, Iceland, and Nigeria, Group E: Brazil, Switzerland, Costa Rica, Serbia, Group F: Germany, Mexico, Sweden and South Korea, Group G: Belgium, England, Tunisia and Panama, Group H: Poland, Colombia, Senegal and Japan.