Coaches have their say on the World Cup draw

World Cup draw Portugal lands Spain

World Cup draw Portugal lands Spain

The coaches of the 2018 World Cup favourites welcomed a draw that keeps a lot of them apart in the group phase - with the exception of Cristiano Ronaldo's Portugal and 2010 winners Spain.

Elsewhere debutantes Iceland were given a fairy-tale opener against Lionel Messi's Argentina in Group D, with defending champion Germany landing in a relatively tough group, paired with Mexico, Sweden and South Korea in Group F. Messi's countryman Diego Maradona was one of those assisting host Gary Lineker in the draw, dressed in a dark suit with yellow bow tie.

However, the Portuguese, who won Euro 2016, and 2010 World Cup titlist Spain will be fully expected to advance from Group B, which also includes two teams specializing in clean sheets: Morocco and Iran.

Team Melli, headed by Carlos Queiroz, will be participating in the World Cup for the fifth time but the team have never gotten past the group stage.

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Five-time winners Brazil, eager to exorcise the demons of 2014 and their 7-1 semi-final humiliation against Germany on home soil, will expect little trouble in progressing from Group E ahead of Switzerland, Costa Rica and Serbia.

Going into the draw, we knew Russian Federation would get an easy group based on how the pots were set up. Russian Federation should face a sterner test in Luis Suarez's Uruguay - the two-time World Cup winners who also have Paris Saint-Germain's danger man Edinson Cavani. We have achieved the World Cup again after twenty years.

"You know football, you always have a chance", said Iceland coach Heimir Hallgrimsson.

Supporters of the 32 teams who qualified for the 2018 World Cup were watching the final draw around the world, hoping their team would be placed in an easy group so they can qualify for the tournament's next level. "This is a World Cup".

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Argentina would likely face Spain in the quarterfinals, and Germany/Colombia/Poland/England/Belgium in the semifinals.

France and their potent strike force of Antoine Griezmann and teenage sensation Kylian Mbappe will play Australia, Peru and Denmark in Group C. "It's going to be a hard tournament", Santos added.

La Roja have overcome their Iberian neighbours in their past two meetings in major competitions and have gone on to win the title after those encounters. "The majority of Morocco's players are playing in Europe and they knocked the Ivory Coast out and hasn't lost any games", Lopetegui stated.

Group H: Poland, Colombia, Senegal and Japan.

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