As hosts, Russia were automatically placed as the first team in Group A, while the other seven groups have one of the highest ranked FIFA nations, based on their October rankings, at the top.

In Group B, 2010 World Cup winners Spain will face 2016 UEFA European Championship winners Portugal, while Carlos Queiroz’s Iran and Morocco complete the group.

Arguably the toughest group is Group D with 2014 finalists Argentina, Croatia, Iceland and Nigeria.

Meanwhile, Germany will start their title defense against Mexico in Group F, which also includes Sweden and Korea Republic.

Group A: Russia, Saudi Arabia, Egypt, Uruguay

Group B: Portugal, Spain, Morocco, Iran

Group C: France, Peru, Denmark, Australia

Group D: Argentina, Croatia, Iceland, Nigeria

Group E: Brazil, Switzerland, Costa Rica, Serbia

Group F: Germany, Mexico, Sweden, Korea Republic

Group G: Belgium, Panama, Tunisia, England

Group H: Poland, Senegal, Colombia, Japan.

The tournament starts on 14 June next year, with the opening game set to be contested by Russia against Saudi Arabia in Moscow.

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