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FIFA World Cup 2018: Portugal and Spain drawn in same group

Host nation Russia will face Saudi Arabia in the tournament-opening match on June 14 in the Luzhniki Stadium in Moscow

PTI/AFP  |  Moscow 

The coaches of the qualified teams pose for a group photo at the end of the 2018 soccer World Cup draw in the Kremlin in Moscow, Friday, Dec. 1, 2017.AP/PTI
The coaches of the qualified teams pose for a group photo at the end of the 2018 soccer World Cup draw in the Kremlin in Moscow, Friday, Dec. 1, 2017. Photo: AP/PTI

The 2010 World Cup winners were placed in the same group as Cristiano Ronaldo's European champions Portugal in an exciting draw for the 2018 tournament in on Friday.

Neymar's meanwhile will have to negotiate a group including Switzerland, Costa Rica and Serbia as they seek a sixth title.


Holders will face Mexico, and as they try to retain the title for the first time since in 1962.

Lionel Messi and his team which struggled to qualify will play European debutants Iceland as well as a talented Croatia team and

In a star-studded ceremony in the Kremlin, were placed with Kevin de Bruyne's Belgium, surprise packages Panama and Tunisia. v to open 

FIFA president Gianni Infantino, left, and Russian President Vladimir Putin shakes hands at the 2018 soccer World Cup draw in the Kremlin in Moscow, Friday, Dec. 1, 2017. AP/PTI
FIFA president Gianni Infantino, left, and Russian President Vladimir Putin shakes hands at the 2018 soccer in the Kremlin in Moscow, Friday, Dec. 1, 2017. Photo: AP/PTI


Host nation will face in the tournament-opening match on June 14 in the Luzhniki Stadium in Moscow.

Russia's other opponents in Group A are Uruguay, led by Barcelona's Luis Suarez, and Egypt, spearheaded by Liverpool striker Mohamed Salah.

France and their potent strikeforce featuring Antoine Griezmann and teenage sensation Kylian Mbappe will play Australia, Peru and Denmark in Group C.

Spain's other opponents in a tough-looking Group B are Morocco and Iran.

Russian President Vladimir Putin said in a speech at the draw ceremony that had a "strong affection" for football.

"Our country is looking forward to the championship and intends to hold it at the highest level," Putin said.

"I am sure that the forthcoming World Cup will be a huge factor in the development of the sport both in the Russian regions and throughout the whole world."

In the hours before the draw, FIFA President Gianni Infantino denied that doping was a problem even as are at serious risk of being barred from the 2018 Winter Olympics for doping.

Infantino claimed that the level of testing in football is sufficient to show that the game is largely clean.

"I don't think there are many other international organisations who are doing as many anti-doping tests as football is doing," Infantino told a press conference.

"If you would have a serious doping issue in football this would be known by now, whether in or any other country of the world."

have been stripped of a third of the medals they won as hosts of the 2014 Winter Olympics in Sochi and last week a ban on the country taking part in international athletics was upheld.

First Published: Fri, December 01 2017. 23:25 IST
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