Following a long road of qualifying joy and heartache, the 2018 FIFA World Cup Russia™ has finally snapped into focus after the Final Draw on 1 December in Moscow’s Kremlin State Palace.
Hosts Russia will open the event against Saudi Arabia at Moscow’s Luzhniki Stadium on 14 June in Group A, while defending champions Germany were drawn into a tough Group F along with Mexico, Sweden and Korea Republic. According to the November FIFA/Coca-Cola World Ranking, the toughest group is Group C which has France, Australia, Peru and Denmark.
The Final Draw ceremony took place inside the walls of the Kremlin with Gary Lineker hosting and an array of high-profile names on hand to assist with the draw. Legends representing the eight previous World Cup-winning nations and the hosts – France’s Laurent Blanc, England’s Gordon Banks, Brazil’s Cafu, Italy’s Fabio Cannavaro, Uruguay’s Diego Forlan, Germany’s Miroslav Klose, Argentina’s Diego Maradona, Spain’s Carles Puyol and Russia’s Nikita Simonyan – joined Lineker on stage.
In the audience watching were dignitaries such as FIFA President Gianni Infantino, Lothar Matthaeus, Pele, Samuel Eto’o, Ronaldo and many more.
Thirty one days after the opening contest, the new champion will lift the Trophy after the Final in Moscow, again at the famed Luzhniki.