The FIFA World Cup is now less than 200 days to go and the draw for next summer’s mega-event took place on December 1 at Moscow’s famous State Kremlin Palace from 8.30 pm IST. The show was co-hosted by English football legend and 1986 World Cup Golden Boot winner, Gary Lineker, and Russian Sports Journalist Maria Komandnaya.
The event was graced by 7 former legends from 7 world cup winning nations as the draw assistants. The legends were Diego Forlan(Uruguay), Laurent Blanc (France), Gordon Banks (England), Cafu (Brazil), Fabio Cannavaro (Italy), Carles Puyol (Spain) and Diego Maradona (Argentina). Additional to them, Nikita Simonyan represented hosts Russia while defending World Champions Germany was represented by all-time highest goalscorer Miroslav Klose as the Cupbearer.
The Pots for the cup were already announced by FIFA prior to the start of the cup where the top 7 ranked teams in the world – Germany, Brazil, Portugal, Argentina, Belgium, Poland, France(according to the FIFA rankings on 16 October 2017) and the hosts Russia were given the 8 seeds for the cup draw, with the A1 position going to the Russians.
The next best 8 teams Spain, Peru, Switzerland, England, Colombia, Mexico, Uruguay, and Croatia were put in pot 2.
Denmark, Iceland, Costa Rica, Sweden, Tunisia, Egypt, Senegal, and Iran were in the Pot 3, while Serbia, Nigeria, Australia, Japan, Morocco, Panama, South Korea and Saudi Arabia comprised Pot 4.
The draw was hosted by representatives from all the 32 nations in attendance at the famous Russian venue.
The draw saw interesting groups being constituted on the night as bitter West European rivals Spain and Portugal will be playing each other in their first match in Group B. Argentina, drawn in one of the toughest groups in Group D, will be playing newbies Iceland alongside Dark Horses Croatia and Nigeria. Nigeria and Argentina will be playing each other in the group stages for the record 5th time(’94. ’02. ’10 and ’14 previously) and the only time Nigeria played in the world cup and did not play Argentina was in 1998.
Two of the hot favorites England and Belgium were drawn together in Group G. Defending champions Germany will be playing Mexico, Sweden and South Korea in Group F, while 5-times champions Brazil were drawn with Serbia, Costa Rica and Switzerland in Group E.
Another favorite for the cup France were drawn with Australia, Peru, and Denmark in Group C.
Group H will probably be the most competitive, with Poland, Colombia, Senegal, and Japan.
Hosts Russia were drawn with 2-times champions Uruguay, African dark horses Egypt and Saudi Arabia in Group A.
The World Cup kicks off on 14 June at the Luzhniki Stadium in Moscow, with the hosts taking on Saudi Arabia in the opening game.
With the clock ticking down to the start of the mega event, let’s get started to get soaked in the fever of the World Cup.