Saudi Arabia draws into group with Egypt, Russia for World Cup 2018

Saudi Arabia has been drawn into Group A with Egypt, Uruguay and host nations Russia for the upcoming World Cup 2018. (AFP)

Saudi Arabia has been drawn into Group A with Egypt, Uruguay and host nation Russia for the upcoming World Cup 2018.

Meanwhile, Morocco was drawn into Group B with Portugal, Spain and Iran.

Remaining Arab country Tunisia was drawn into Group G and will face England, Belgium and Panama.

The upcoming World Cup will mark the first time four Arab nations will contest the finals after Saudi Arabia, Egypt, Morocco and Tunisia qualified for the tournament in Russia.

RELATED: IN PICTURES: How Saudis celebrated qualifying for the 2018 World Cup

In a new simplified format, the teams will be placed in pots one to four from highest to lowest FIFA ranking with the exception of Russia, the lowest-ranked team in the tournament, who are automatically placed in pot one alongside the top seeds.

Each pot will be emptied one by one into eight groups -- Group A to Group H -- which will contain four teams each. Two non-European teams from the same confederation cannot be in the same group to avoid geographic clashes. 

Coach: Russia has some homework to do 

Russia will have some homework to do before facing Saudi Arabia, Egypt and Uruguay at the World Cup.

Russia coach Stanislav Cherchesov says “we’ve never played any of these teams and I’ve never seen them.”

Cherchesov says “the only thing we know is that (Liverpool forward Mohamed) Salah plays for Egypt ... and that (Edinson) Cavani and Luis (Suarez) play for Uruguay.”

Russia will face Saudi Arabia on June 14 in the opening game of the World Cup in Moscow. The host team will then play Egypt on June 19 in St. Petersburg and Uruguay six days later in Samara. 

“I cannot say if I am happy or not after the draw. The group is what it is,” says Cherchesov.

“My emotions ahead and after the draw are the same. I smiled when we got Uruguay because they asked to have a friendly match against us and we did not agree. They were chasing us and finally got us.”

Russia Deputy Prime Minister Vitaly Mutko: “This is a fine group (for Russia). We don’t know much about the Saudi Arabia team but it must be a disciplined and stubborn team.”

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Last Update: Wednesday, 20 May 2020 KSA 09:55 - GMT 06:55
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