Portugal, Spain favourites but Santos wary of Morocco and Iran

04 December, 2017, 00:37 | Author: Laverne Higgins
  • Neymar, Thomas Muller, Harry Kane, Eden Hazard

Portugal and Spain will face-off at Fisht Olympic Stadium in Sochi on June 15, while Morocco and Iran clash in Saint Petersburg. Let's take a closer look at the bracket.

Cristiano Ronaldo won't need to do much scouting ahead of Portugal's opener at next year's football World Cup in Russian Federation as the reigning European champions landed in the same group as Spain. Argentina was drawn to group D, which includes Iceland, Croatia and Nigeria.

However, since succeeding Vicente del Bosque, Lopetegui has blended the experienced remnants of the World Cup winning side with a host of graduates from the under-21 team he led to a European title in 2013.

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

Portugal would likely face Nigeria/Croatia/Peru/Denmark in the quarterfinals and Germany/Belgium/England/Colombia in the semifinals.

"I am certainly not scared", Loew told ZDF television, but he warned the chasing pack was closing in.

"To play against Spain, Portugal and Morocco will be a great opportunity for our players to show why they are here and especially to show that they deserve to be here".

Switzerland, who defeated Northern Ireland in their play-off to progress to the Finals, will form part of a tight race for second place in Group E with Costa Rica and Serbia, behind natural favourites Brazil.

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Mutko was the Minister of Sport between 2008 and 2016 and is the head of Russia's World Cup organizing committee.

"Although it's a hard group, we believe in ourselves and definitely we can advance from the group", he said.

With a potent attack featuring teenage sensation Kylian Mbappe and Atletico Madrid hotshot Antoine Griezmann and a midfield stuffed with talent, France should be among the World Cup favourites.

Lopetegui is also wary of the rest of Spain's group, pointing to the strengths of Morocco and Iran.

Japan's veteran coach Vahid Halilhodzic vowed to avenge his side's humiliating 4-1 thrashing by Colombia at the 2014 World Cup.

Russian Federation launch their campaign to win Group A against Saudi Arabia in Moscow's historic and completely refurbished Luzhniki Stadium in the tournament's opening match on June 14.

Also in the group are Uruguay and Egypt. But he also conceded: "We just didn't want to get Spain from pot two".

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