Group B: European heavyweights to do battle
After beating Italy to top spot in Europe’s Group G on the road to the 2018 FIFA World Cup™, Spain now face another stern test after being pitted against European heavyweights Portugal, as well as Africa’s Morocco and Asia’s IR Iran.
Portugal-Spain (15 June 2018, Fisht Olympic Stadium, Sochi)
A mouth-watering tie in Sochi lies in store. You could hear the gasps at Moscow’s State Kremlin Palace when these two European heavyweights – and neighbours – were drawn alongside each other in Group B. This is a game not to be missed.
What you need to know
• Russia presents familiar territory for Portugal. As UEFA EURO 2016 winners, Portugal secured their berth to the 2017 FIFA Confederations Cup, where Fernando Santos’s side defeated Mexico in the play-off for third place.
• IR Iran will be looking to Sardar Azmoun for goals. The 22-year-old striker, who plys his trade in Russia with Rubin Kazan, notched 11 goals in qualifying, the same number as Tim Cahill (Australia), Christian Eriksen (Denmark) and Romelu Lukaku (Belgium).
• Morocco topped a tightly-contested African zone Group C to secure qualification to Russia 2018, pipping Côte d’Ivoire, Gabon and Mali.
3 – Iran were the third team to book their place at the 2018 World Cup after hosts Russia and 2014 hosts Brazil.
Spain’s coach isn’t thinking about the individuals when coming up against the European champions, but do you think #TheBest winner @Cristiano will get on the scoresheeet their neighours? pic.twitter.com/8us15YbvKT
— #WorldCupDraw (@FIFAWorldCup) December 1, 2017