The FIFA World Cup 2018 host Russia has been drawn with Saudi Arabia, Egypt and Uruguay in their group. Russia will kick off the tournament against the Saudis at Moscow’s Luzhniki Stadium on June 14.
At a star-studded Final Draw at the State Kremlin Palace, the 32 teams that have qualified for the FIFA 2018 World Cup Russia learned their group stage opponents.
In some mouth-watering group stage match-ups, 2010 World Cup winners Spain were drawn alongside reigning European Champions Portugal in Group B, while Belgium – packed with stars from the English Premier League – were drawn alongside England in Group G.
THE FULL GROUP DRAW
Group A: Russia, Saudi Arabia, Egypt, Uruguay
Group B: Portugal, Spain, Morocco, Iran
Group C: France, Australia, Peru, Denmark
Group D: Argentina, Iceland, Croatia, Nigeria
Group E: Brazil, Switzerland, Costa Rica, Serbia
Group F: Germany, Mexico, Sweden, South Korea
Group G: Belgium, Panama, Tunisia, England
Group H: Poland, Senegal, Colombia, Japan
Group stage games will take place at 12 stadiums across the 11 host cities from June 14 to June 28, after which the knockout stage commences. Other notable games will see current champions Germany face Mexico, with the pair having met in last summer’s 2017 Confederations Cup in Russia, when the Germans won comfortably in the semi-finals.
Russian head coach Stanislav Cherchesov will surely be pleased with the draw, avoiding giants such as Spain from the second pot and potentially dangerous teams in Pots 3 and 4 such as Iceland, Sweden and Serbia.
After playing the Saudis in Moscow, Russia will face Egypt in St. Petersburg on June 19, before concluding their group stage games against Uruguay – on paper their toughest opponents in the group – in Samara on June 25.
Russian fans will believe their team has a good chance of emerging from the group stage, which is something they failed to do last time out at Brazil 2014.
Elsewhere, fans can look forward to a blockbuster match-up between Portugal and Spain in Sochi on June 25, as Real Madrid star Ronaldo comes up against a number of his teammates in the Spanish squad.