The summer of 2018 will see the 21st edition of the FIFA World Cup take place in Russia.
The International competition that takes place every 4 years is the most watched sporting event on earth, drawing more television viewers than even the Olympic Games.
The best players and countries in world football will travel to Russia hoping to be crowned World Champions. Here is everything you need to know about the 2018 tournament draw featuring the 32 teams.
Group A – Russia, Saudi Arabia, Egypt and Uruguay
The opening game of the World Cup will see hosts Russia take on Saudi Arabia in Group A on Thursday, 14 June. The group also has Luis Suarez’ Uruguay and Mohmahed Salah’s Egypt.
Group B – Portugal, Spain, Morocco and Iran
This group sees 2010 winners Spain and current European champions Portugal drawn with Morocco and Iran, who are managed by Portuguese Carlos Queiroz. Portugal captain Cristiano Ronaldo will square up against several of his Real Madrid teammates in what looks to be the standout fixture of the Group Stages.
Group C – France, Australia, Peru and Denmark
Euro 2016 finalists and one of the favourites to lift the trophy this tournament, France are grouped with Australia, Peru and Denmark in what looks to be a tough battle for second place.
Group D – Argentina, Iceland, Croatia and Nigeria
Runners up at the last FIFA World Cup, Argentina led by magician Lionel Messi are paired up with tournament debutants Iceland. Seasoned tournament teams Croatia and Nigeria make up the rest of the group.
Group E – Brazil, Switzerland, Costa Rica and Serbia
Brazil seem like certain favourites to progress through the group but cannot take teams like Switzerland, Serbia or Costa Rica – who went on a great run the last time around -lightly. La Sele (Costa Rica) exceeded everyone’s expectations at the 2014 FIFA World Cup in Brazil where they reached the Quarter Finals.
Group F – Germany, Mexico, Sweden and South Korea
Defending champions Germany face Mexico first up and the fixtures after don’t get much easier either. In what looks to be the Group of Death – Germany and Mexico should feel confident of going through – though the runner up may have to face Brazil in the Round of 16.
Group G – Belgium, England, Panama and Tunisia
It looks to be a pretty straight forward group for both Belgium and England to progress although their battle for first place in the group would be interesting to watch. Underdogs Panama and Tunisia make up the rest of the group.
Group H – Poland, Senegal, Colombia and Japan
Poland were drawn as the top team in the group but Colombia may battle them on that. Liverpool’s Sadio Mane led – Senegal and former World Cup hosts Japan will look to edge through to qualification as well.
The 32 teams head over to Russia in the summer of 2018 with the kick off on June 14 at Moscow’s Luzhniki Stadium. Overall, the draw has done its job and left the top teams an open route to progress to the Round of 16 – a one game, sudden death elimination style format which has often thrown out a few surprises.
Which team do you think will be crowned champions in Russia?