Coaches hail tantalising World Cup draw

Neymar, Thomas Muller, Harry Kane, Eden Hazard

World soccer's governing body conducted the 2018 FIFA World Cup draw on Friday in Moscow, with the outcome producing a host of pre-tournament storylines and one irresistible matchup: Spain vs. Portugal in Group B.

Lopetegui is also wary of the rest of Spain's group, pointing to the strengths of Morocco and Iran.

The Portuguese coach has worked wonders with Iran since his appointment, taking the nation to consecutive World Cups for the first time in their history in 2014 and 2018.

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. "Portugal has to accept that we are one of the favorites but if you look in a bit more detail, you can see it's very hard", Santos 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.

"We have shown through the years that if we play well, we can at least give them a good game".

Hong Kong - Carlos Queiroz has challenged Iran's football authorities to sack him as head coach of the country's national team if they do not appreciate his public criticism of their preparations for the 2018 World up in Russian Federation. "I can not say whether I'm happy or not", he told reporters.

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Mutko was the Minister of Sport between 2008 and 2016 and is the head of Russia's World Cup organizing committee.

Brazil are the record five-time champions but were left reeling following a thumping 7-1 defeat to Germany on home soil in the semifinals at the 2014 World Cup.

The tournament that spans 11 cities and 12 stadiums will kick off when host nation Russian Federation take on Saudi Arabia on June 14 in Moscow's Luzhniki Stadium.

Also in the group are Uruguay and Egypt.

France and their potent strike force of Antoine Griezmann and teenage sensation Kylian Mbappe will play Australia, Peru and Denmark in Group C. "It's going to be a hard tournament".

"Portugal have won an important title and, moreover, very recently".

"The majority of their players compete in Europe", Lopetegui said.

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