Breaking down the World Cup teams: Russia already got a big win in the draw

AFP US1NT - Breaking down the World Cup teams: Russia already got a big win in the draw
Former Soviet nationwide staff ahead and coach Nikita Simonyan pulls the host’s identify from the pot. (Mladen Antonov/AFP/Getty Images)

The 2018 World Cup is not going to begin for an additional 6 1/2 months in Moscow, however the first victory has already been achieved: Russia defeats the FIFA draw.

With President Vladimir Putin in attendance at the State Kremlin Palace on Friday, the nation internet hosting subsequent summer season’s soccer spectacular loved a very favorable place when the names of the 32 groups had been pulled from glass bowls in setting the first-round quartets.

Group of Death? Try Group of Joy.

Despite having the second-worst world rating in the subject, the Russians had been afforded, like earlier event hosts, a high seed. Atop Group A, they had been then joined by Saudi Arabia, the lowest-ranked staff; Egypt, which final certified 28 years in the past; and Uruguay, a formidable foe.

They dodged a European opponent, comparable to Spain or England, and, primarily based on FIFA’s world rankings and pots, obtained an virtually good draw. The solely means it might’ve been statistically higher is that if Croatia had changed Uruguay and Senegal or Iran had taken Egypt’s place.

With two groups from every group headed to the spherical of 16 — the minimal requirement for a host nation searching for to keep away from embarrassment — Russia is in a sturdy place to advance.

Putin, little doubt, is smiling.

The Group of Death? It’s “F” with reigning champion Germany; CONCACAF energy Mexico; Sweden, which ousted Italy in a qualifying playoff; and South Korea, making its ninth consecutive look.

The event will run June 14 via July 15 in 11 Russian cities (12 stadiums). Russia will open the 64-match occasion in Moscow in opposition to Saudi Arabia.

Here’s how the teams shook out, with preliminary evaluation:

AFP US5Q9 - Breaking down the World Cup teams: Russia already got a big win in the draw
(Mladen Antonov/ AFP/Getty Images)

GROUP A

  1. Russia
  2. Saudi Arabia
  3. Egypt
  4. Uruguay

As talked about above, the Russians are undoubtedly ecstatic about the draw outcomes. Then once more, so are the different three groups.

Imagine you’re Saudi Arabia. You’re dealing with lengthy odds to start with. You know you’re going to face certainly one of the high seeds. You actually don’t wish to play Germany, Argentina or Brazil. Russia? Sure, why not. Since the breakup of the Soviet Union, the Russians have by no means escaped the World Cup group stage and simply as soon as superior out of the first spherical in the European Championship.

Uruguay is the group favourite, having completed second behind Brazil in South America’s brutal qualifying event and that includes Paris Saint-Germain marksman Edinson Cavani.

Egypt, with Liverpool attacker Mohamed Salah, is able to surprises.

GROUP B

  1. Portugal
  2. Spain
  3. Morocco
  4. Iran

Spain and Portugal are chargeable for the previous three European titles and a few of the biggest names in the sport, most notably Cristiano Ronaldo. And whereas their Sochi showdown June 15 is the marquee match amongst the 48 first-round video games, each ought to advance no matter the end result.

If they undergo, each could be favored in opposition to Group A counterparts in the spherical of 16.

Morocco has not participated since 1998, however with professionals unfold throughout Europe, the Atlas Lions shouldn’t be underestimated.

Iran is a World Cup common however will battle to get out of the group.

GROUP C

  1. France
  2. Australia
  3. Peru
  4. Denmark

If this isn’t the Group of Death, it’s the Group of Near-Death. France, a bona fide menace to carry the trophy, is the clear favourite, however Denmark and Peru have the capability to mess up Les Bleus’ championship plans. Australia can have a powerful time gaining factors.

Didier Deschamps has a wealth of French roster riches from the largest golf equipment in Europe: Paul Pogba, Antoine Griezmann, Ousmane Dembele, Kylian Mbappe and Olivier Giroud, amongst others.

The Danes gained a place by scoring 5 consecutive targets at Ireland in the second leg of a European playoff. Midfielder Christian Eriksen is world class.

Peru waited 36 years to return to the World Cup, qualifying by way of a playoff with New Zealand after ending fifth in South America’s unforgiving race.

GROUP D

  1. Argentina
  2. Iceland
  3. Croatia
  4. Nigeria

This is a enjoyable quartet, what with Lionel Messi and 2014 runner-up Argentina encountering the least populous nation to ever qualify (Iceland), a historically succesful European aspect (Croatia) and an unpredictable West African menace (Nigeria).

With his 31st birthday falling in the center of the event, Messi might be getting his final shot at the World Cup trophy. He virtually didn’t get a probability: Argentina didn’t clinch a berth till the final day of continental qualifying. Any misstep would most likely arrange a round-of-16 sport with France.

Iceland (pop. 335,000) parlayed success at the 2016 European Championship (an upset of England to achieve the quarterfinals) into a World Cup berth by ending forward of Croatia, Ukraine and Turkey in qualifying group play.

GROUP E

  1. Brazil
  2. Switzerland
  3. Costa Rica
  4. Serbia

Brazil is searching for redemption for the humiliation it suffered at residence in 2014, a 7-1 semifinal loss to Germany. With Neymar in high type, a sixth world championship is in attain. The Brazilians roared via qualifying with one defeat in 18 matches and a plus-30 aim differential. They’ve got to complete first in the group; in any other case, they’ll most likely face Germany once more.

Switzerland and Serbia are positioned to struggle for second place, however Costa Rica shouldn’t be dismissed. The Ticos had been the shock of the final World Cup, beating out Uruguay, Italy and England to win their group after which beating Greece to achieve the quarterfinals earlier than dropping to the Netherlands on penalty kicks.

Costa Rica has Real Madrid goalkeeper Keylor Navas — and countless perception.

GROUP F

  1. Germany
  2. Mexico
  3. Sweden
  4. South Korea

For the Germans, it didn’t matter a lot how the draw transpired: They knew they’d be put in as group favorites and carry long-term ambitions.

That stated, Joachim Loew’s squad will face a take a look at in the first two matches, in opposition to Mexico and Sweden, earlier than aiming to cement its place atop the group in opposition to long-shot South Korea. Qualifying was a minor inconvenience for the Germans: 10 victories in 10 tries and a 43-Four scoring benefit.

If they get out of the group, the Mexicans will search to finish a streak of six consecutive defeats in the spherical of 16. With a number of gamers excelling in European leagues, this appears to be their greatest probability.

Sweden will trip the momentum of ending Italy’s string of 14 straight appearances.

GROUP G

  1. Belgium
  2. Panama
  3. Tunisia
  4. England

England was a horrible disappointment at the 2014 World Cup, failing to advance previous the group stage. Then once more, England has been a horrible disappointment at many main tournaments.

The Three Lions are undoubtedly happy with this draw, paired with Belgium as favorites in a group with a massive hole between the high and backside two. Neither Tunisia (first look since 2006) nor Panama (debut) stands a lot of a probability.

In 2014, Belgium outlasted the United States to achieve the quarterfinals earlier than dropping to Argentina. This time, Chelsea’s Eden Hazard, Manchester City’s Kevin De Bruyne and Manchester United’s Romelu Lukaku have grander targets.

GROUP H

  1. Poland
  2. Senegal
  3. Colombia
  4. Japan

Poland is the high seed due to a No. 7 world rating that appears too beneficiant. Colombia may find yourself successful the group. And Japan and Senegal are optimistic about their possibilities of advancing. In different phrases, this quartet is extensive open.

Poland, a 2016 Euro quarterfinalist, certified for the first time since 2006 and can search to achieve the knockout stage for the first time since 1986. Robert Lewandowski is certainly one of his technology’s nice scorers.

Colombia options 2014 high scorer James Rodriguez (six targets), whereas Japan, in a sixth straight World Cup, seeks to rebound from a poor displaying in Brazil.

Senegal went to the 2002 quarterfinals however didn’t qualify once more till this fall.

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