Federation Internationale de Football Association 2018 WC: Iran to face Spain, Portugal; tough draw for Germany

Neymar, Thomas Muller, Harry Kane, Eden Hazard

Morocco skipper Medhi Benatia is looking forward to playing Portugal, Spain and Iran in the preliminary round of the 2018 Fifa World Cup.

A fairly balanced draw left the 6,000 dignitaries assembled at the State Kremlin Arena in Moscow with no standout "group of death" to mull over, although some intriguing matchups do lie ahead once the tournament kicks off next summer.

According to CNN, Hosts Russia will open the event against Saudi Arabia at Moscow's Luzhniki Stadium on 14 June in Group A, while defending champions Germany were drawn into a tough Group F along with Mexico, Sweden and Korea Republic.

The Portuguese coach has worked wonders with Iran since his appointment, taking the nation to consecutive World Cups for the first time in their history in 2014 and 2018.

Neymar's Brazil meanwhile will have to negotiate a group including Switzerland, Costa Rica and Serbia as they seek a sixth title.

Portugal coach Fernando Santos says his team has a hard task ahead since they have been drawn in a deceptive and treacherous group.

Just over a year after being dumped out of Euro 2016 by the Azzurri, Spain thrashed Italy 3-0 at the Santiago Bernabeu in September in a style reminiscent of the "tiki-taka" short-passing game that bamboozled opponents and won fans across the world between 2008 and 2012.

"He told me just one thing - number 10", a laughing Hallgrimsson said in reference to Messi's number.

"From the players' point of view, I'm sure they are very excited to play against Portugal and Spain and also Morocco, because it's a unique and rare opportunity for Iranian players to play against such great players and such great teams", Queiroz said.

The glitzy draw, featuring a short speech from Russian President Vladimir Putin, also laid out potential routes to the final, revealing tantalising prospects such as a Spain v Argentina quarter-final, and possible semi-finals between Spain against Germany or France versus Brazil.

France and their potent strike force of Antoine Griezmann and teenage sensation Kylian Mbappe will play Australia, Peru and Denmark in Group C.

Host nation Russian Federation will face Saudi Arabia in the tournament-opening match on June 14 in the Luzhniki Stadium in Moscow. "It's going to be a hard tournament".

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.

Group H: Poland, Colombia, Senegal and Japan.

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