Spain and Portugal, the last two European champions, were drawn Friday to meet in the first round of the World Cup, one day after Russia opens the tournament in one of the easiest groups of the competition.
The Russians will play their first match at Luzhniki Stadium in Moscow on June 14 against Saudi Arabia — the only team ranked lower than the hosts. Egypt and Uruguay are also in Group A.
Defending champion Germany will play first against Mexico in Group F and then face Sweden and South Korea. Five-time world champion Brazil is in Group E with Switzerland, Costa Rica and Serbia.
"None of us wanted an easy group," Mexico goalkeeper Guillermo Ochoa said. "If you're playing the World Cup, you want to face the best. And if you want to reach the final, you have to play great matches."
Spain, which eliminated Portugal in the last 16 on the way to winning its first World Cup in 2010, will open against the European champions on June 15 in Sochi. Group B also includes Morocco and Iran.
Iceland, the country with the smallest population of the 32 World Cup teams, was drawn with Argentina, Croatia and Nigeria in Group D. Another newcomer, Panama, will take on England, Tunisia and Belgium in Group G.
Here they are! The groups for the 2018 FIFA World Cup Russia! ...Read more