1 December 2017

Africa: France Profit From Luck of World Cup Draw

Photo: Gavin Barker/BackpagePix
Nigeria's Super Eagles celebrate a win at the last World Cup in Brazil. They are one of five African teams in Russia next year, the others being Senegal, Egypt, Morocco and Tunisia.

France on Friday were handed an apparently straightforward passage into the last 16 of the 2018 World Cup after being drawn with Peru, Denmark and Australia in Group C. The 2016 European championship runners-up will start their campaign on 16 June in Kazan against Australia.

In Group A, hosts Russia were drawn with Uruguay and Egypt. The Russians - the lowest ranked side at the tournament at .. - will kick off the tournament at the Luzhniki Stadium in Moscow on 15 June against Saudi Arabia.

Defending champions Germany were drawn in Group F and will take on Mexico, Sweden and South Korea.

"It's a fascinating group with some interesting challenges for our team," said Reinhard Grindel, the head of the German Football Association. "For the coach Joachim Löw and the team, the preparation for the three matches begins now."

Five-time champions Brazil were paired with Switzerland, Costa Rica and Serbia in Group E. The first game pits the Costa Ricans against Serbia in Samara on 17 June. Brazil take on Switzerland in Rostov-on-Don the same day.

Tournament debutants Iceland will face the 2014 beaten finalists Argentina in Group D as well as Croatia and Nigeria.

Belgium and England will be the favourites to advance from Group G. Tunisia and Panama also feature in the pool.

Senegal have not played at the World Cup since their surge to the last eight in 2002. Aliou Cissé skippered the side at the tournament in Japan and South Korea. Sixteen years later, his charges will play a Poland side in Group H fired by the goals of the Bayern Munich striker Robert Lewandowski as well as Colombia and Japan

In Group B, Morocco and Iran will have difficulty escaping the tag of makeweights. They have been drawn with European champions Portugal and a Spain side gradually rediscovering its mojo under coach Julen Lopetegui.

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