Published: Mon, December 04, 2017
Entertaiment | By Minnie Bishop

Spain's Lopetegui: Group B draw will demand the best of us

Spain's Lopetegui: Group B draw will demand the best of us

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 Russian Federation on Friday.

Spain's clash with reigning European champions Portugal in Sochi on June 15 was an early highlight thrown up by the glitzy draw in the Kremlin.

"From the players' point of view, I'm sure they are very excited to play against Portugal and Spain and also Morocco, because it's a unique and rare opportunity for Iranian players to play against such great players and such great teams".

Five-time victor Brazil, eager to exorcise the demons of 2014 and their 7-1 semi-final humiliation against Germany on home soil, will expect little trouble in progressing from Group E ahead of Switzerland, Costa Rica and Serbia.

"They are something other than just Cristiano", Lopetegui said.

Iceland - one of the two newcomers at the World Cup along with Panama - is the smallest ever nation to qualify for the World Cup with a population of about 335,000.

"Other countries have been watching us over the last few years and they have progressed and they have great players".

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Former Real Madrid coach Carlos Queiroz has handed a stunning ultimatum to his Iran employers, stating that the national team must either prepare properly for the World Cup or sack him.

"I'm here to say Iran needs a special local preparation", the coach said on a video posted on his official Facebook page. "They are going to demand the best of us", he added. "This will be an exciting World Cup".

France coach Didier Deschamps will be confident of winning Group C ahead of Australia, Peru and Denmark.

Host nation Russian Federation will face Saudi Arabia in the tournament-opening match on June 14 in the Luzhniki Stadium in Moscow. "It's going to be a hard tournament", Portugal coach added.

A side that looks like it benefited from an easy group is England, one of only eight countries to have won the World Cup but which bagged its lone title in 1966. "The majority of Morocco's players are playing in Europe and they knocked the Ivory Coast out and hasn't lost any games", Lopetegui stated.

Japan faces a tough task to finish in the top two of Group H that features Robert Lewandowski's Poland, Senegal and Colombia.

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