Favourable World Cup draws for Russian Federation and England

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The first game in Group B will feature Portugal against Spain while Peru go into Group C alongside France.

England have drawn Belgium, Tunisia and Panama in their group for the 2018 FIFA World Cup, while defending champions Germany will face Mexico, Sweden and Korea Republic in Russian Federation. I have spoken to Boban who is quite high up in the hierarchy there and he's very impressive, Marco van Basten is there, (Luis) Figo, (Emilio) Butragueno.

Russian Federation is hosting the 21st World Cup amid a level of hostility from some Western nations that is unprecedented since the Cold War, which Moscow blames on its growing worldwide standing and irritation among Western political elites over Russia's independent policies.

The snow is falling heavily in Moscow as coaches from the 32 finalists assemble in the main hall in the State Kremlin Palace where the draw ceremony will begin at 1500GMT.

With the World Cup 6 1/2 months away, the eyes of the vast soccer society turn to Moscow today for the draw, which will determine the eight first-round groups, set the path for the favorites to reach the final and reveal the most formidable quartet, known as the Group of Death.

More news: Mild for Friday; A few showers possible Saturday

Pele, now 77, has been taken into the auditorium in a wheelchair. The first one will need to face tough Switzerland, Serbia and a Costa Rica team that was the main surprise of the 2014 World Cup. The actual drawing of the balls is expected to start around 30 minutes later and is scheduled to last around half an hour.

The big draw will be held on FRIDAY - December 1, 2017.

The 32 teams will battle it out next year over the course of the month-long competition, which will begin with hosts Russian Federation taking on Saudi Arabia at the Luzhniki Stadium in Moscow on June 14 and end with the final on Sunday, July 15. The one exception: Host Russia - the lowest ranking of the 32 teams - is in Pot 1 with the top seven seeded teams.

At past draws, there has been a pot of seeded teams and three other pots of teams filled geographically.

Die Mannschaft warmed up for the competition by winning the Confederations Cup in the summer with what amounted to a reserve team, while previous year they reached the semi-finals of the 2016 UEFA European Championship.

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