On Friday afternoon, the World Cup draw took place in Moscow. The draw produced some highly intriguing groups, none more than England, Belgium, Peru and Panama competing for qualification in Group G.
Belgium will head to Russia for next year’s tournament as one of the favourites to lift the trophy. The group is made even more interesting by the fact that a number of Belgium’s top stars ply their trade in the English Premier League.
The likes of Chelsea stars Thibaut Courtois, Eden Hazard, Manchester United duo Romelu Lukaku and Marouane Fellaini as well as Tottenham defensive pair Toby Alderweireld and Jan Vertonghen among others will line-up against the Three Lions.
Elsewhere in the group, Tunisia have not appeared at a World Cup since 2006. However, the Eagles of Carthage qualified for Russia 2018 by winning a group comprising Congo DR, Libya and Guinea.
Panama will be making their first-ever appearance at a World Cup in Russia. Hernan Dario Gomez’s team qualified for the tournament by finishing third in CONCACAF qualifying.
The Panama team has no real name stars. However, many of their players have experience in MLS and have appeared in European leagues in the past.
Group D could also be fascinating, as South American heavyweights Argentina face Nigeria, Croatia and Iceland. Lionel Messi and co. will be favourites to make it through to the knockout stages.
However, all three of the other teams in the group will also fancy their chances of qualifying.
Home nation Russia look to a major chance of making the knockout stages after being drawn alongside Saudi Arabia, Egypt and Uruguay. Elsewhere, Brazil takes on Costa Rica, Switzerland and Serbia, while Germany faces Sweden, Mexico and South Korea.
Neighbours Spain and Portugal go head-to-head in Group B alongside Iran and Morocco.
Group C: Australia, Denmark, France and Peru
Group G: Colombia, Japan, Poland and Senegal