2018 FIFA World Cup Russia™

14 June - 15 July

The Preliminary Draw in quotes

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“Massive fan of all three countries and I respect them a lot, [it’s] going to be tough. Football in Asia is growing rapidly.” Tim Cahill, Australia midfielder

“Without any doubt, Germany is the top candidate for the No1 spot. On paper, Sweden and Ireland should be considered ahead of us. But our task is doable.” Dietmar Constantini, Austria coach

“It will be so wonderful for our people to be able to welcome two of the biggest giants of the football world - the current champions, Spain, and the champions of 1998, France.”Bernd Stange, Belarus coach

“It’s a very well balanced group and there’s no doubt that it will very difficult. But we have to believe in our chances.”Georges Leekens, Belgium coach

“We respect every opponent in our group and will take the challenge. I have seen much easier groups in Europe today. But one thing is clear: Italy are the favourites.” Lothar Matthaus, Bulgaria coach

“The European groups are quite tight and although what catches the eye is France and Spain drawn together, I believe that Italy’s group is even closer; a more even one.” Mano Menezes, Brazil coach

"I think it's a decent draw. The main thing is you have to take care of business at home and if you get results (on the road), you should be okay." Stephen Hart, Canada coach

“The draw is not too bad for us - at least it is better than what Japan have received! All four teams, however, are close rivals and the competition will be ferocious.” Li Xiaopeng, former China PR midfielder

“Ukraine and Montenegro are going to be tough. If we can beat Montenegro in our EURO group, that would be important for the confidence of the team.” Fabio Capello, England coach

“It's to be expected that we drew a big fish as we were not seeded. It's a difficult group, but I hope anyway the best two will go through.” Laurent Blanc, France coach

“We are satisfied. It's not an easy group, but we are happy that we do not have to face France. Of course, we are the favourites, but we still have to go into each match concentrated and focused.” Oliver Bierhoff, Germany team manager

“It’s a good group for us, Jordan can reach the final round for the first time in its history.” Adnan Hamad, Jordan coach

“It’s always difficult for us, whatever our group is. But this is a very interesting draw and to finish lower than fourth would be a disappointment.” Paul Phillip, Luxemburg Football Federation President

“It’s a fair group for us because we will fight for the second position behind England, who are clearly favourites.” Zlatko Kranjcar, Montenegro coach

“This is a very tough group, but we are ready for the challenge. Good luck to all the Arab and Gulf teams.”Ali Al Habsi, Oman goalkeeper

“It is a difficult section with three genuine football nations in Turkey, Hungary and Romania. Those will be our main rivals, with Turkey being the biggest threat.” Bert van Marwijk, Netherlands coach

“It looks a reasonably tough group, but it could have been worse. There is a fair bit of travelling but you have to deal with that.” Nigel Worthington, Northern Ireland coach

“We are not favourites; Russia has a lot of individual talent and Israel has shown it can be a big danger for any big team.” Paulo Bento, Portugal coach

“It is a tough task, so we will make sure to prepare properly. We will spend some time in Qatar and then we will have a ten-day stint in Turkey.” Milovan Rajevac, Qatar coach

“I don’t have any special feeling today, it will not be easy for sure but I can’t be happy or unhappy. Anything is possible.”Dick Advocaat, Russia coach

“In Serbia and Croatia we have drawn two very accomplished teams and all of these games will provide a very tough challenge for my squad.” Craig Levein, Scotland coach

“I remember Scotland as a team with very good qualities in the past. Belgium will be very difficult too, although I think Croatia – as the top-seeded team – must start as favourites.” Vladimir Petrovic, Serbia coach

“I can't see a clear favourite. We can beat anybody, we have proven that in the past.” Matjaz Kek, Slovenia coach

“For sure it’s kind of a good group for us. I’m sure the other teams are not happy to have us in the group. It will be hard, though.” Pitso Mosimane, South Africa coach

“If you concentrate too much on France, you can fail against any other opponent, and complicate your qualification in the same way.” Vicente del Bosque, Spain coach

“Republic of Ireland will be tough, I expect a big fight with them, but there is no doubt that Germany are the favourites.” Erik Hamren, Sweden coach

“I’m very confident. Our team is in a renovation process, in a year will have more experience and we could be able to fight the Dutch for first place in the group.”Guus Hiddink, Turkey coach

“Japan are undisputedly the strongest team in this group but every team has a chance. The fixtures look tight and all six games will be played in six months, so there’s no room for error.” Vadim Abramov, Uzbekistan coach

“It's one of those groups when you look at it that everyone can beat anyone. It's a really tough group, but it could have been worse.”Gary Speed, Wales coach

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