Russia, the host of FIFA World Cup 2018, will make effort to ensure that the championship is remembered as a celebration of sports and top-notch competition, Russian President Vladimir Putin has pledged.
The stage is all set and we are just 20 mins away. They were drawn in to group B with Portugal, and play them in the opener. I never had a massive problem with Russian Federation hosting the World Cup. The squad coached by Colombian Juan Carlos Osorio shares group with current champion Germany.
Five-time winners Brazil, who came top in South American qualifying, have been drawn in Group E with Switzerland, Costa Rica and Serbia.
Mexico star Javier "Chicharito" Hernandez is eager to get rolling after watching the draw results unfold.
IST: Just an hour for the World Cup draw to begin and the dignitaries are all arriving.
While Russia's sporting reputation has been dragged through the mud by a "state-sponsored" doping scandal, which threatens their participation at the 2018 Winter Olympics, FIFA has been engulfed in a corruption scandal that forced former president Sepp Blatter to stand down.
The draw ceremony will be led by former England striker and 1986 World Cup Golden Boot victor Gary Lineker and Russian sports journalist Maria Komandnaya and is a far simpler format than in previous tournaments.
Defending champion Germany will play first against Mexico in Group F and then face Sweden and South Korea.
The 32 teams have been equally divided into four pots based on Federation Internationale de Football Association world rankings with the exception of Russia, who as hosts are placed in the top seeds' pot. A potential second-place finish in the group would mean a date with Brazil in the round of 16, which would make it quite hard for them to advance to the quarterfinals for the first time in the competition outside of Mexico. However, there will be only one or two European teams in each group.
The top two teams from each of the eight groups go through to the last 16 knockout phase.
German football legend Miroslav Klose has been tasked with bringing the trophy to the stage.
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