Saudi Arabia to play in opening match of 2018 World Cup

Sole Gulf representatives will face hosts Russia; Egypt and Uruguay also in Group A
Saudi fans wave the national flag and chant during a 2018 World Cup qualifying football match. (AFP/Getty Images)
By Staff writer
Fri 01 Dec 2017 07:18 PM

Saudi Arabia will feature in the opening game of the 2018 World Cup after being drawn in a group alongside hosts Russia on Friday.

The Gulf region's sole representatives at next year's tournament managed to avoid all the big guns and were drawn in Group A, with Egypt and Uruguay. They will play Russia in the first game on June 14 in the Luzhniki Stadium in Moscow.

The 2010 World Cup winners Spain were placed in the same group as Cristiano Ronaldo's Portugal in an exciting draw for the 2018 tournament, alongside Morocco and Iran.

Neymar's Brazil meanwhile will have to negotiate a group including Switzerland, Costa Rica and Serbia.

Holders Germany will face Mexico, Sweden and South Korea as they try to retain the title for the first time since Brazil in 1962.

Lionel Messi and his Argentina team which struggled to qualify will play European debutants Iceland, Croatia and Nigeria.

Elsewhere, Belgium will play England, Tunisia and Panama in Group G while Group H features Poland, Senegal, Colombia and Japan and Group C will see France, Australia, Peru and Denmark in competition.

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