Following a long road of qualifying joy and heartache, the 2018 FIFA World Cup Russia™ has finally snapped into focus after the Final Draw on 1 December in Moscow’s Kremlin State Palace.
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. According to the November FIFA/Coca-Cola World Ranking, the toughest group is Group D which has France, Australia, Peru and Denmark.
England have been drawn with Belgium, Panama and Tunisia in Group G at next year’s Fifa World Cup in Russia.
Gareth Southgate’s men will begin their tournament against Tunisia on Monday, 18 June (19:00 BST) in Volgograd.
They will then face World Cup debutants Panama in Nizhny Novgorod on 24 June (13:00 BST) before playing top seeds Belgium four days later in Kaliningrad (19:00 BST).
Russia play Saudi Arabia in the opening game in Moscow on 14 June (16:00 BST).
Holders Germany are in Group F with Mexico, Sweden and South Korea while five-times winners Brazil are in Group E alongside Switzerland, Costa Rica and Serbia.
The 2018 tournament takes place in 12 stadiums across Russia between 14 June and 15 July.
In the audience watching were dignitaries such as FIFA President Gianni Infantino, Lothar Matthaeus, Pele, Samuel Eto’o, Ronaldo and many more.
Thirty one days after the opening contest, the new champion will lift the Trophy after the Final in Moscow, again at the famed Luzhniki.
World Cup groups in full
- Group A: Russia, Saudi Arabia, Egypt, Uruguay
- Group B: Portugal, Spain, Morocco, Iran
- Group C: France, Australia, Peru, Denmark
- Group D: Argentina, Iceland, Croatia, Nigeria
- Group E: Brazil, Switzerland, Costa Rica, Serbia
- Group F: Germany, Sweden, Mexico, South Korea
- Group G: Belgium, Panama, Tunisia, England
- Group H: Poland, Senegal, Colombia, Japan