The draw for the 2018 World Cup has been made and each team now knows their opponents for next summer’s tournament.
England have been drawn with Belgium, Tunisia and Panama, which appears favourable, but Germany and Brazil lie in waiting if Gareth Southgate’s side qualify for the knockout stages.
There are some other intriguing games thrown up in the group stages, none more so than Spain vs. Portugal in Group B, which will take place on 15th June.
Ahead of football’s showpiece event next summer, we’ve had a look at the groups and predicted which sides will qualify from each one.
Russia, Saudi Arabia, Egypt, Uruguay
The hosts probably couldn’t have got a better draw and they’ll likely be competing for second place with Egypt. Having said that, their performances in Euro 2016 were terrible, but they’ll be keen to put on a show in front of home support.
Uruguay look the likely favourites, while Saudi Arabia are an unknown.
Likely Qualifiers: Uruguay and Russia
Group A Betting Odds
- Uruguay to win the group: 11/10
- Russia to qualify: 20/67
- Egypt to qualify: 6/5
- Saudi Arabia to qualify: 8/1
Portugal, Spain, Morocco, Iran
It’s hard to see past Portugal and Spain in this group, with the match between the two likely to decide the group winner and the runner-up. Both sides should make light work of Morocco and Iran, with Spain winning the crucial tie against their Iberian neighbours and topping the group.
Likely Qualifiers: Spain and Portugal
Group B Betting Odds
- Spain to win the group: 5/9
- Portugal to win the group: 2/1
- Morocco to qualify: 5/1
- Iran to qualify: 6/1
France, Australia, Peru, Denmark
It’s a good draw for France, who are listed among the tournament favourites. They’ve got one of the strongest squads in the competition, but failed to live up to their potential in the qualifying stages.
Didier Deschamps’ side should top the group, with Peru and Denmark fighting it out for second spot.
Likely Qualifiers: France and Denmark
Group C Betting Odds
- France to win the group: 10/31
- Denmark to qualify: 10/19
- Peru to qualify: 11/5
- Australia to qualify: 7/2
Argentina, Iceland, Croatia, Nigeria
If there’s one Group of Death in the tournament, then it’s this one. Argentina were poor in the qualifiers, but could get their act together come the tournament and they’ll also be playing Nigeria for the fifth time in six World Cups.
Croatia are one of Europe’s most underrated sides, while Iceland can’t be discounted after their heroics in Euro 2016, although they’ll have to cause some big shocks if they hope to make it to the knockout stage.
Likely Qualifiers: Argentina and Croatia
Group D Betting Odds
- Argentina to win the group: 20/33
- Croatia to qualify: 5/11
- Nigeria to qualify: 12/5
- Iceland to qualify: 5/2
Brazil, Switzerland, Costa Rica, Serbia
This is an easy group for Brazil who are pre-tournament favourites to win the World Cup. They’ll be eager to make up for their embarrassing departure from their own tournament in 2014. Second place in this group could be a closely fought contest. Costa Rica topped their group ahead of Italy, England and Uruguay in 2014, while Switzerland and Serbia both have good players.
Likely Qualifiers: Brazil and Switzerland
Group E Betting Odds
- Brazil to win the group: 2/7
- Switzerland to qualify: Evens
- Serbia to qualify: 11/10
- Costa Rica to qualify: 7/2
Germany, Mexico, Sweden, South Korea
This should be a relatively simple group for Germany to qualify from, but each of their opponents are likely to provide a threat to the reigning champions. Like Group E, all the other teams will fancy their chances of qualifying for the second round.
Likely Qualifiers: Germany and Mexico
Group F Betting Odds
- Germany to win the group: 10/21
- Mexico to qualify: 6/5
- Sweden to qualify: 5/4
- South Korea to qualify: 2/1
Belgium, Panama, Tunisia, England
It’s a favourable draw for England and they might stand a better chance of beating Belgium than the other two sides in the group. The England team have showed over many years how bad they are at breaking down opposition defences, and with Belgium likely to attack, it could play into their hands. Expect England to qualify, but don’t expect cricket scores against Panama and Tunisia.
Likely Qualifiers: Belgium and England
Group G Betting Odds
- Belgium to win the group: 5/6
- England to win the group: 6/5
- Tunisia to qualify: 5/2
- Panama to qualify: 8/1
Poland, Senegal, Colombia, Japan
This is one of the most intriguing groups in the competition, with no stand out teams, despite Poland being in Pot 1 for the draw. Colombia were outstanding at the last World Cup and they’ll fancy their chances of qualifying for the second round, while Senegal and Japan will also fancy their chances.
Likely Qualifiers: Poland and Colombia
Group H Betting Odds
- Colombia to win the group: 6/5
- Poland to win the group: 7/4
- Senegal to qualify: 11/10
- Japan to qualify: 5/4