Why Spain Vs. Portugal Is 'Can't-Miss' Game Of Group Stage

Why Spain Vs. Portugal Is 'Can't-Miss' Game Of Group Stage

Cristiano Ronaldo's Portugal will come up against Spain in the standout fixture of the 2018 World Cup group stage, while England were handed an encounter with a risky Belgium side in Friday's draw.

"Our country is looking forward to the championship and intends to hold it at the highest level", Putin said.

"Playing the group's first game against Brazil is a childhood dream". "We know the Mexicans from the Confederations Cup, the Swedes are a European team who we know as well, so only South Korea will be a slightly unknown quantity".

Perennial under-achievers England still face a tough encounter with a free-scoring Belgian side featuring Kevin de Bruyne and Eden Hazard, both of whom play in England. They'll play Belgium, Tunisia and Panama. "We've got to be prepared for every game", said England manager Gareth Southgate.

The Iberian neighbours will be favourites to progress from Group B after also being paired with Morocco and Iran in Friday's draw in Moscow, but they face each other first up in Sochi on June 15.

Harry Kane and his teammates begin against Tunisia in Volgograd- in a stadium built on one of the main sites of the World War II Battle of Stalingrad - on June 18. With Nigeria performing well lately, Croatia having a variety of individual talents including Real Madrid's Luka Modric, Iceland putting up a brilliant show of shared strength and Argentina struggling to qualify while having a pretty decent squad that includes Lionel Messi, the group will result in a set of balanced yet competitive face-offs.

But Sorokin said the team were hitting their stride after losing just 1-0 to Argentina and drawing 3-3 with Spain in home friendlies last month. "Spain are naturally favourites, as I've always said". We start our campaign against Portugal, on day two of the World Cup.

Former Soviet football player and coach Nikita Simonyan draws Russian Federation into Group A.

"I think that this is a flawless - even ideal - group", former Russian Federation coach and three-time domestic Premier League champion Valery Gazzayev told R-Sport.

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"What matters to us is to play a great game when the time comes and to be capable of beating them", added Lopetegui.

Del Bosque's Spain broke Portuguese hearts twice en route to winning the World Cup in 2010 and in a tense penalty shootout in the semi-finals of Euro 2012 when Ronaldo was made to pay for wanting to take the final penalty as his opportunity never came.

Neymar's Brazil must negotiate a group including Switzerland, Costa Rica and Serbia as the South Americans seek a sixth title.

Iran national football team coach Carlos Queiroz says there are times when mouse escapes from cat.

Australia have been in disarray since qualifying and are now searching for a new coach following the resignation of Ange Postecoglou.

"Although it's a hard group, we believe in ourselves and definitely we can advance from the group", he said.

Group H, the only group not to include a former World Cup victor, features world No 7 Poland, No 13 Colombia, along with Senegal and Asian giants Japan.

Japan's veteran coach Vahid Halilhodzic vowed to avenge his side's humiliating 4-1 thrashing by Colombia at the 2014 World Cup.

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