World Cup draw pairs Germany with Mexico, Portugal with Spain

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It will involve 64 matches in total with the final taking place in Moscow's Luzhniki Stadium on July 15. The world champions avoided an African team - they have struggled against Ghana and Algeria in recent times - and don't come up against any recognised heavyweights.

Logic would suggest that Russian Federation should be sweating over the fact that they did not get drawn against one of the more glamorous nations such as England, Brazil or Germany.

They will come up against Croatia, Nigeria and tournament debutants Iceland as Lionel Messi looks to make up for losing the 2014 final to Germany.

In the other side, Argentina will play two tough European units: Iceland, who will participate in the tournament for the first time and Croatia, a team full of great individual skills.

Belgium are the highest ranked team in the group that also features England, Tunisia and Panama.

This is a great draw. "We've got to be prepared for every game", said Southgate, and England could in theory find themselves on a collision course with Germany and Spain later on if they do not win the group. It is a similar profile of opponents to 2014, when France played Switzerland, Honduras and Ecuador.

"Our country is looking forward to the championship and intends to hold it at the highest level", Putin said. El Tri was defeated 4-1 in last summer's Confederations Cup by a Germany B team that exposed defensive vulnerabilities, while Sweden showed what a tough unit it can be against Italy in the playoffs. You have to go back to 1986 for the last time they advanced from the group stages, but Colombia made it to the last eight in 2014 - where James Rodriguez shone to win the Golden Boot. On the positive side, Mexico opens in Moscow, where the team is hoping to secure its base for the tournament.

Moscow just hosted the 2018 World Cup draw.

Lionel Messi and his Argentina team which struggled to qualify will play World Cup debutants Iceland as well as a unsafe Croatia outfit and Nigeria.

There were some tough draws for AFC teams (Iran, Saudi Arabia, Japan, South Korea and Australia) on Friday but there is hope for all. But to do so, they will likely have to improve of a record of two wins in their past 11 World Cup matches.

Germany were paired with Mexico, Sweden and South Korea in Group F as Joachim Loew's men try to become the first nation to retain the title since Brazil in 1962.

But both coaches and pundits alike were in good spirits after avoiding the potential disaster of being drawn in a "Group of Death" with sport-mad President Vladimir Putin watching on.

The tournament that spans 11 cities and 12 stadiums kicks off when host nation Russian Federation take on Saudi Arabia on June 14 in Moscow's Luzhniki Stadium, which will also host the final on July 15. Tunisia are back for a fifth time, and first since 2006, but have not won since triumphing in their first-ever match in June 1978 - a defeat to England in the '98 group stages included. Uruguay will be tricky but Egypt are beatable.

Poland, spearheaded by Bayern Munich striker Robert Lewandowski and ranked seventh in the world, cruised through qualifying and will fancy their chances of topping a group that includes Senegal, Colombia and Japan.

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