The 2018 FIFA World Cup is almost here and with less than 200 days to go, the thirty-two teams have been divided into eight different groups.
After 4 years of wait, three years of the fight for just 31 spots later, most-loved football season is just a few months away. And the countdown for the FIFA World Cup has begun in Russia with 32 teams being drawn in 8 different groups. The coaches will be ready with the strategies, players will be ready to be a part of the history, and we will be ready to witness the biggest Sporting Event in the World!
The draw was quite fair to all the teams. The groups are nicely balanced and there is no real group-of-death. But some teams will consider themselves lucky for a kind draw while some will be cursing their luck a little bit.
Let us take a look at the winners and losers of the FIFA World Cup draw:
Here they are! The groups for the 2018 FIFA World Cup Russia! 🇷🇺🙌
— #WorldCupDraw 🏆 (@FIFAWorldCup) December 1, 2017
Group G: Belgium, Panama, Tunisia, England
England will be the happiest team after the draw, without any doubt. The Three-Lions were facing a possible pairing with the likes of Germany, Brazil, and Argentina. But they have managed to avoid all of them for a time-being and have settled for a relatively comfortable draw in Group G in the FIFA World Cup .
5th ranked Belgium are a great side and are definitely one of the favorites for the World Cup. But, Southgate’s men will face them in the very last game of the group. Before that, England should not have any problems against Debutants Panama and the African-side Tunisia.
And although it’s easier said than done, if Harry Kane-led team can win their game against Belgium, it will be a great boost to England’s confidence going into knockouts.
#WorldCupDraw England manage to avoid Portugal, France, Brazil, Argentina AND Germany.
England FA: pic.twitter.com/BOLmYHEtgr
— Bheki Maenetja (@bheki_maenetja) December 1, 2017
Group B: Portugal, Spain, Morocco, IR Iran
Just like England, Spain’s draw could have been much worse, with 2010 Champions also drawn in Pot 2. But the Spaniards managed to dodge the FIFA World Cup favorites in the group stage and settled for a much easier group, despite pairing with the European Champions, Portugal.
Lo Roja will face Portugal in the first game of their campaign. Even though Portugal ranks higher in the FIFA rankings, Spain has an edge over Ronaldo’s side with the number of individuals who can turn the game around in space of few minutes. With the perfect blend of youth and experience, Spain will have to sweat a little to nothing against Iran and Morocco.
The African-side have not conceded a single goal in their qualifying campaign, but facing the likes of Isco and Morato is a different story altogether. Spain fans can expect their team to win the group and enter the knockouts in the style.
Group A: Russia, Saudi Arabia, Egypt, Uruguay
The easiest possible draw Suarez and Cavani could have hopes for. 2-time World Champions Uruguay are drawn with Egypt, Saudi Arabia and hosts Russia. The South-Americans did not have the perfect qualifying but are more than capable of coming out unscratched from the Group A.
Uruguay’s first game against Egypt will be the challenging one with Mo Salah’s team will try to make an impact on their debut. Next two games against Saudi Arabia and Russia should be easy 6 points for the team which boasts two of the deadliest strikers in the World.
Group D: Argentina, Iceland, Croatia, Nigeria
La Albiceleste seems to have found a medicine which turns everything into bad luck. Their qualifying campaign was horrible with the number of World-Class strikers and no goals. (Of course Before Messi’s Hattrick) Now, the Argentines are drawn in a group which can be called a group of death.
Lionel Messi-led team will face Iceland in their first game. The small country from Europe has been on fire since the Euro’16. The Islanders sent the English side home in Round of 16. And in qualifying for the FIFA World Cup, Iceland qualified directly, ahead of Croatia. That should be enough to give you an idea of how dangerous they can be.
Argentina’s next two games are against Croatia and Nigeria. Croatia boasts a squad full of famed footballers from around the Europe and won’t be easy opponents. The Argentines will also face Nigeria, for the 5th time in World Cup history, with fresh memories of a 4-2 defeat against Super Eagles in the recent friendly.
And just to give you an idea of how important it is for Messi’s side to win the group: If Argentina finishes 2nd in their group, there is a real chance of them facing France in the Round of 16.
Nigeria and Argentina. A better love story than twilight.
— Deji Faremi (@deejayfaremi) December 1, 2017
Group F: Germany, Mexico, Sweden, Korea Republic
El Tri qualified for the FIFA World Cup in style by topping the North American table. But the actual road ‘in’ Russia is looking difficult for Mexico. They are drawn with Current World Champions – Germany, the side who eliminated Italy – Sweden and 2002 semi-finalists, Korea Republic.
Long story short, Mexico’s road to knockouts looks very difficult right now. The North-Americans will face Germany in their first match. Despite players like Hernandez, Dos Santos and Carlos Vela in the team, it is difficult to win against Germans on any given day. The team will then face Sweden and Korea and will need to win both the games to go further in the competition.
A little tricky for Chicharito, isn’t it?
#3 Costa Rica
Group E: Brazil, Switzerland, Costa Rica, Serbia
The North-Americans shocked the world when they walked into Group of Death in 2014 FIFA World Cup and walked out of it as winners. Costa Rica defeated Uruguay and Italy and continued their fairy-tale until quarter-finals. This time, Costa Rica is again drawn in another difficult group and will have to work hard once again.
Costa Rica will face 5-times champions Brazil, Switzerland, and Serbia. Brazil will be expected to win the group without much fuss and it will be a real fight between other three teams. Costa Rica will have to face two quality European sides, Switzerland and Serbia. Swiss qualified for the World Cup via play-offs, but they can be a dangerous side with the number of top EPL players in their side.
Even if Costa Rica manages to pull off a sensational place in knockouts, their most-likely opponents in Round of 16 will be none other than Germany. Talk about bad luck!
Although the above-given teams have been lucky/unlucky with the draws, football is all about how you play on the given day. A certain team might be strong on paper and still falter under pressure and underdogs can run away with a triumph due to their dedication and hard work!
What I’m trying to say is, can we please fast-forward to June 2018 already and watch the FIFA WORLD CUP 2018!