The road to the 2018 World Cup officially kicked off on Friday morning, as the draw was finally held, and all 32 teams were thrown into the 8 groups that will be their homes for the first round in Russia. Featuring Vladimir Putin and a host of soccer legends, the draw was a relatively smooth affair, but the path to the trophy got harder for a handful of teams.
Every draw’s main talking point is the Group of Death, and this edition features a doozy: Mexico got drawn into the same quad as Germany, Sweden, and South Korea. On the other end of the deal, Uruguay lucked out, with what should be an easy path to the round of 16, as they will face relative weaklings Russia, Egypt, and Saudi Arabia. Other groups of note pair Brazil and Costa Rica, and Colombia with Senegal and Poland, the weakest of pot 1. And, for those who care about South America’s fiercest rivalry, Argentina and Brazil will likely only meet in the final (if they win their groups) or in the semi-finals (if one finishes second in their group).
Now, the 6-month wait for the World Cup proper begins. With the groups laid out, let the brackets and predictions begin; Russia 2018 is coming.