The draw for the 2018 World Cup took place in Russia on Friday evening. This article will break down the resulting groups.
Group A includes the host country, as well as Saudi Arabia, Egypt and Uruguay. The South American giants are at least on paper by far the strongest team in the section. Otherwise, the potential fight for second place seems to be wide open, with Russia’s home field advantage perhaps being decisive.
Group B includes both mighty Iberian sides Portugal and Spain, as well as Morocco and Iran.
The two Middle Eastern teams here have both played impressive qualifying campaigns to reach the World Cup, but it looks like they will be overpowered by the quality of the Europeans, both of whom should advance in either order.
Group C has France, Australia, Peru and Denmark in it. The French have a squad loaded with talent and are on many people’s lists of favorites to emerge as champions next summer. They should win this group with little trouble. The race for second place seems quite open here.
Croatia will hope that Group D does not stand for doom, as they will face giants Argentina along with the always-tricky Iceland (who finished above them in qualifying) and the talented Nigeria.
Overall, it seems one of the most difficult groups the “Vatreni” could have gotten, but they have every chance of advancing behind Argentina.
Group E incudes Brazil, Switzerland, Costa Rica and Serbia. The five-time world champions are clear favorites to finish on top here and the Swiss may have a slightly better chance to advance than the other two. But Serbia can play, as can Costa Rica, though no one will underestimate “Los Ticos” this time.
Group F is the group of the current World Cup winners Germany. Mexico, Sweden and South Korea are their opponents here. While many of especially my American friends may see this as a difficult section, I disagree. Sure, there are some banana skins in this group, but Germany should prevail. Mexico is very overrated in North America and may well fail to advance.
Group G has Belgium, Panama, Tunisia and England in it. While the two European teams should advance, one can never underestimate the English’s ability to underperform.
Group H consists of Poland, Senegal, Colombia and Japan. This may well be the most interesting group in the tournament. It has no giants, but all four teams can play.
Overall, this World Cup has no “Group of Death”, as others usually did. But Russia 2018 will be interesting nonetheless.