Culture&Arts

Spain take on Ronaldo's Portugal as Russian Federation are handed kind draw

Spain take on Ronaldo's Portugal as Russian Federation are handed kind draw

Cristiano Ronaldo of Portugal is challenged by Andres Iniesta of Spain during the 2010 FIFA World Cup South Africa Round of Sixteen match between Spain and Portugal.

Many football pundits believe it would be a straight-forward fight between the two European countries, with Morocco expected to battle Iran for the third-place but Appiah, who worked with Renard as Ghana's assistant coach during Claude Le Roy's reign in 2008, has a different idea.

Either it be the shocking qualifiers that witnessed former champion Italy's failure to secure a spot in the tournament for the first time in over half a century, or the series of online threats against the 2018 World Cup by the pro-ISIS Wafa Media Foundation, one thing that is not to be doubted is the eventfulness the tournament has already brought to the audiences globally. While Denmark is not really expected to distress Raphael Varane's team, Australia lacking its head coach and Peru with an average Federation Internationale de Football Association ranking of 54, are unlikely to pose a threat towards the French team that now ranks at number 9 in the world. Iceland, the smallest nation to ever play at the World Cup, will play the two-time champions on June 16 at Spartak Stadium in Moscow.

A World Cup shrouded in corruption controversies and struggling to attract sponsors could have the dreariest of starts. "That's what I like best, when we know what to expect".

It has been said before that France coach Didier Deschamps has a lucky star over his head when it comes to these draws, and his side will be confident of emerging from Group C ahead of Australia, Peru and Denmark.

"We've been good at writing off teams and then getting beaten by them", said England coach Gareth Southgate, who is preparing for his first tournament leading the team. Those burdened with the unenviable task of being in the same group as the tournament favourites are, Costa Rica, Switzerland and Serbia, all of which are likely to be fighting it out for second spot in Group E. "They are the champions of Europe, they have fantastic players and we are talking about the highest level".

When the hand of Diego Maradona dipped into the glass bowl and pulled out England in Belgium's Group G - avoiding Brazil, Argentina and Portugal - the English press termed it "the day the Hand of God made amends".

Iceland were drawn with Argentina Croatia and Nigeria in group D
Iceland were drawn with Argentina Croatia and Nigeria in group DBertrand Langlois AFP Getty Images

Here they are! The groups for the 2018 FIFA World Cup Russia!

Ronaldo will be 33 come next year's finals, meaning this will probably be his last shot at World Cup glory.

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

The only group without a former World Cup champion is H - Poland, Senegal, Colombia and Japan.

President Putin said Russian Federation had a "strong affection" for football.

"Other countries have been watching us over the last few years and they have progressed and they have great players".

The Olympic doping scandal surrounding Russian Federation hung over the final countdown to the draw.





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