Morocco's Benatia looking forward to Fifa World Cup games

Morocco's Benatia looking forward to Fifa World Cup games

Jorge Sampaoli's team will have to improve in order to come through a tricky group with an Iceland side that continue to defy the odds, Nigeria and the always risky Croatia.

"Portugal are a great team, they are the current European champions and have a lot of top level players, the highest level. They are going to demand the best of us". The past figures and results don't serve us. "Portugal have to accept that we are one of the favourites but if you look in a bit more detail, you can see it's very hard". Although the Europeans were 4-1 winners on that occasion, Marco Fabian scored the most spectacular goal of the tournament during the match.

"We got opponents that are not unknown to us", Germany captain Manuel Neuer said.

"Croatia has an excellent midfield, Nigeria is unpredictable and has some very fast players, and Iceland comes in with little pressure", Argentina coach Jorge Sampaoli said. "That's what I like best, when we know what to expect". Some of the players that were part of that squad are now included in the senior team setup and performed well during the World cup qualification campaign. Iran's final match will be against Portugal (third in the world) in Saransk on June 25. "They haven't lost in qualifying". They're a tough team, they have very good team spirit, lots of confidence and they defend well.

A sub-plot from Group B is the appearance of Iran manager, Carlos Queiroz who boasts a managerial pedigree better than most at the tournament, Queiroz not only had two stints in charge of Portugal, but also spent time as Real Madrid manager and as Alex Ferguson's assistant at Manchester United. It looks hard on paper but nothing is impossible in football.

Lopetegui was at least happy with Spain's draw in terms of logistics with their expected base in Krasnodar just a half an hour flight away from Sochi before facing Iran in Kazan and Morocco in Kaliningrad.

Santos has plenty of respect for Iran and Morocco, saying: "They are two good national teams". Of course they have a chance. Egypt will be spearheaded by Liverpool striker Mohamed Salah while Saudi Arabia will make their first return to the World Cup since 2006.

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