Defending champions Germany, pictured here celebrating their Confederation Cup victory in 2017, are predicted to lift the Worl Cup again because they have a good combination of skill and discipline and are not overly dominated by any one star player / Photo: Confed Twitter

Russia 2018: Morocco, Nigeria, Tunisia drawn in ‘tough’ groups

Five African teams were part of 32 others entered into a draw for the group stages of the 2018 World Cup in Russia on Friday. The five African teams are Senegal, Egypt, Morocco, Nigeria and Tunisia.

It turns out that from the final draw, Morocco and Nigeria will not have it easy in their respective groups as they face top sides.

Nigeria will be facing former World Champions, Argentina. The Super Eagles recently beat them by 4 – 2 in a friendly. Aside Argentina, they will face Croatia and Iceland in Group D.

In Group B, Morocco for their part will face current European champions Portugal and former World Champions Spain as well as Iran.

Tunisia will have work to do as they come up against Belgium, England and Panama in Group G.

Egypt in Group A will put aside all diplomatic engagements when they come up against Saudi Arabia in the group stages. They will also have to deal with the home fans when they face hosts Russia. The other team in the group being Uruguay.

In Group H, Senegal seems to have a quiet group as well. They will face Poland, Colombia and Japan as Sadio Mane and his charges look to do better than the Teranga Lions’ last outing.

GROUP A: Russia – Saudi Arabia – Egypt – Uruguay

GROUP B: Portugal – Spain – Morocco – Iran

GROUP C: France – Australia Peru – Denmark

GROUP D: Argentina – Iceland – Croatia – Nigeria

GROUP E: Brazil – Switzerland – Costa Rica – Serbia

GROUP F: Germany (reigning champions) – Mexico – Sweden – Korea Republic

GROUP G: Belgium – Panama – Tunisia – England

GROUP H: Poland – Senegal – Colombia – Japan

In 2014 Africa sent five teams – Ghana, Cameroon, Côte d’Ivoire, Nigeria and Algeria. Four years on, only Nigeria is returning to the showpiece. There are joined by another West African side, Senegal. The three other teams are all from North Africa – Egypt (record Africa Cup of Nations champions), Morocco and Tunisia. Football watchers are already talking of tough battles awaiting the African flag-bearers in Russia to qualify from the group stage. Analysts are warning against pessimism as anything can happen on the field. No doubt fans can look forward to an exciting World Cup come June 2018.
Austin Ohaegbu