Anticipation has been building for weeks and now the 32 teams at next year’s FIFA World Cup will find out their task with the draw taking place on Friday in Moscow. Germany are the holders and the favorites for the competition, although Brazil are pushing them close after such an impressive qualifying campaign. Whoever you support, you will be on the edge of your seats to see whether your team has secured a group of death or one they can escape from.
These are the respective groups:
- 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, Korea Republic
- Group G: Belgium, Panama, Tunisia, England
- Group H: Poland, Senegal, Colombia, Japan
Hosts Russia line up in Group A alongside Uruguay, Egypt, and Saudi Arabia, and the winner of that pool will face the runner-up of Group B in the round of 16. The opening game of the World Cup will see hosts Russia take on Saudi Arabia in Group A on Thursday, 14 June.
Group B sees 2010 winners Spain and current European champions Portugal drawn with Morocco and Iran, who are managed by Portuguese Carlos Queiroz. Neighbours Spain and Portugal will meet at next year’s Fifa World Cup after being drawn in the same group.
Portugal captain Cristiano Ronaldo plays with several of Spain’s players for Real Madrid and has been managed by Queiroz with Portugal, as well as working together at Manchester United. Ronaldo will have to get the better of his club captain Sergio Ramos when they take on each other.
“It’s a big rivalry and it will be like a derby,” Portugal and West Ham defender Jose Fonte told BBC Sport. “It will be fantastic. Everyone will be up for it.”
Lionel Messi’s Argentina is in Group D and will open against Iceland. They are also in with Nigeria – the fifth time in the Super Eagles’ six World Cups they have been drawn in a group together – and Croatia.
Group C has France, Australia, Peru and Denmark, while Group H contains Poland, Senegal, Colombia and Japan.
Brazil has a comfortably easy group and they won’t be facing any tough opponents before the round of 16.
England has been drawn with Belgium, Panama and Tunisia in Group G.
A little more than seven months remain until the 2018 World Cup kicks off at the Luzhniki Stadium in Moscow, and the stage is set as football’s international elite chart their path to the title.
Some quick World Cup stats for you:
World Cup stats
- Germany will look to become the first team to win back-to-back World Cup titles since Brazil in 1962. A win would take them level with Brazil on five World Cups.
- The last two defending champions have been knocked out in the group stages (Italy 2010, Spain 2014).
- Portugal’s Cristiano Ronaldo, Australia’s Tim Cahill, Mexican Rafael Marquez and Spain’s David Villa have all scored in three World Cups. The record is four – jointly held by Brazil’s Pele and Germans Miroslav Klose and Uwe Seeler.
- Marquez could equal the record of five World Cups played in by fellow Mexican Antonio Carbajal and Germany’s Lothar Matthaus. Gianluigi Buffon went to five but did not play in 1998.
- Iceland and Panama are the only nations to make their debuts in the competition. Slovakia was the last debutants to reach the knockout stages in 2010.
- Germany’s Thomas Muller will be the top finals scorer at this World Cup with 10 goals (five in 2010 and then 2014). The overall record is Klose’s 16.
- Only once have the World Cup hosts not reached the second round – when South Africa went out in the 2010 groups. Some 30% of World Cups have been won by the hosts.
- All 20 World Cups have been won by teams from Europe (11) or South America (9). Brazil – the only team to play in every tournament – have won 25% of them.
- Portugal will attempt to become the fourth nation to win a back-to-back European Championship and World Cup (following West Germany, France, and Spain).
- Mexico has qualified for the World Cup the most times without ever winning it (16).
- All 20 World Cups have been won by a manager with the same nationality as the winning team.
Hope you liked the post. Do comment the name of your favorite team in the comment section below. 😉
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