Here are the confirmed groups for the 2018 FIFA World Cup in Russia.
The 2010 World Cup winners Spain were placed in the same group as Cristiano Ronaldo’s European champions Portugal in an exciting draw for the 2018 tournament in Russia on Friday.
Neymar’s Brazil meanwhile will have to negotiate a group including Switzerland, Costa Rica and Serbia as they seek a sixth title.
Holders Germany will face Mexico, Sweden and South Korea as they try to retain the title for the first time since Brazil in 1962.
Lionel Messi and his Argentina team which struggled to qualify will play European debutants Iceland as well as a talented Croatia team and Nigeria.
In a star-studded ceremony in the Kremlin, England were placed with Kevin de Bruyne’s Belgium, surprise packages Panama and Tunisia.
RUSSIA V SAUDI ARABIA TO OPEN
Host nation Russia will face Saudi Arabia in the tournament-opening match on June 14 in the Luzhniki Stadium in Moscow.
Russia’s other opponents in Group A are Uruguay, led by Barcelona’s Luis Suarez, and Egypt, spearheaded by Liverpool striker Mohamed Salah.
France and their potent strikeforce featuring Antoine Griezmann and teenage sensation Kylian Mbappe will play Australia, Peru and Denmark in Group C.
Spain’s other opponents in a tough-looking Group B are Morocco and Iran.
Russian President Vladimir Putin said in a speech at the draw ceremony that Russia had a “strong affection” for football.
“Our country is looking forward to the championship and intends to hold it at the highest level,” Putin said.
“I am sure that the forthcoming World Cup will be a huge factor in the development of the sport both in the Russian regions and throughout the whole world.”
In the hours before the draw, Fifa President Gianni Infantino denied that doping was a problem even as Russia are at serious risk of being barred from the 2018 Winter Olympics for doping.
Infantino claimed that the level of testing in football is sufficient to show that the game is largely clean.
“I don’t think there are many other international sports organisations who are doing as many anti-doping tests as football is doing,” Infantino told a press conference.
“If you would have a serious doping issue in football this would be known by now, whether in Russia or any other country of the world.”
Russia have been stripped of a third of the medals they won as hosts of the 2014 Winter Olympics in Sochi and last week a ban on the country taking part in international athletics was upheld.
WORLD CUP DRAW
June 14: 5pm Russia v Saudi Arabia, Luzhniki Stadium, Moscow
June 15: 2pm Egypt v Uruguay, Ekaterinburg
June 19: 8pm Russia v Egypt, St Petersburg
June 20: 5pm Uruguay v Saudi Arabia, Rostov,on,Don
June 25: 4pm Uruguay v Russia, Samara, Saudi Arabia v Egypt, Volgograd
June 15: 5pm Morocco v Iran, St Petersburg, 8pm Portugal v Spain, Sochi
June 20: 2pm Portugal v Morocco, Luzhniki Stadium, Moscow, 8pm Iran v Spain, Kazan
June 25: 8pm Iran v Portugal, Saransk, Spain v Morocco, Kaliningrad
June 16: 12pm France v Australia, Kazan, 6pm Peru v Denmark, Saransk
June 21: 2pm France v Peru, Ekaterinburg, 3pm Denmark v Australia, Samara
June 26: 4pm Denmark v France, Luzhniki Stadium, Moscow, Australia v Peru, Sochi
June 16: 3pm Argentina v Iceland, Spartak Stadium, Moscow, 9pm Croatia v Nigeria, Kaliningrad
June 21: 6pm Argentina v Croatia, Nizhny Novgorod
June 22: 5pm Nigeria v Iceland, Volgograd
June 26: 8pm Nigeria v Argentina, St Petersburg, Iceland v Croatia, Rostov,on,Don
June 17: 2pm Costa Rica v Serbia, Samara, 8pm Brazil v Switzerland, Rostov,on,Don
June 22: 2pm – Brazil v Costa Rica, St Petersburg, 8pm Serbia v Switzerland, Kaliningrad
June 27: 8pm Serbia v Brazil, Spartak Stadium, Moscow, Switzerland v Costa Rica, Nizhny Novgorod
June 17: 5pm Germany v Mexico, Luzhniki Stadium, Moscow
June 18: 2pm Sweden v South Korea, Nizhny Novgorod
June 23: 5pm Germany v Sweden, Sochi, 8pm South Korea v Mexico, Rostov,on,Don
June 27: 4pm South Korea v Germany, Kazan, Mexico v Sweden, Ekaterinburg
June 18: 5pm Belgium v Panama, Sochi, 8pm Tunisia v England, Volgograd
June 23: 2pm Belgium v Tunisia, Spartak Stadium, Moscow
June 24: 2pm England v Panama, Nizhny Novgorod
June 28: 8pm England v Belgium, Kaliningrad, Panama v Tunisia, Saransk
June 19: 2pm Poland v Senegal, Spartak Stadium, Moscow, 5pm Colombia v Japan, Saransk
June 24: 5pm Japan v Senegal, Ekaterinburg, 8pm Poland v Colombia, Kazan
June 28: 4pm Japan v Poland, Volgograd, Senegal v Colombia, Samara