Spain and Germany will face off in the main group stage action at the 2022 World Cup after the draw for the tournament was made in Doha on Friday.
Group E is undoubtedly the most exciting, with Spain and Germany joined by Japan and Costa Rica or New Zealand, with their decider playoffs scheduled for June 13 or 14.
Germany certainly hopes the match will not be like the previous encounter between the two countries, as Spain rioted in a 6-0 win during the Nations League in 2020.
Host nation Qatar will play Ecuador in the third match of the opening day after their World Cup opener was moved to better suit TV audiences in the South American nation. The two also join the Netherlands and Senegal in Group A.
Qatar has relatively new experience playing against South American nations after being invited to the 2019 Copa America. Qatar liberated themselves well, having Argentina work hard to win 2-0 and earn a decent point against Paraguay.
France, winners of the 2018 and 1998 World Cups, are drawn in Group D with Denmark, Tunisia and the winners of the Intercontinental play-offs — Australia, United Arab Emirates or Peru.
Group B also boasts some interesting fixtures, with 2018 semifinalists England facing the United States, Iran and either Wales, Scotland or Ukraine.
The last time England faced the US at the World Cup was in 2010 — and it’s a game that still gives England fans nightmares.
A fatal error from goalkeeper Rob Green then saw United equalize after Steven Gerrard had opened the scoring for England.
Ghana have also been offered a revenge change after being drawn in Group H with Uruguay.
In 2010, Luis Suarez famously used his hand to block Dominic Adiyiah’s effort on the line in the dying seconds of their quarter-finals.
Asamoah Gyan missed another penalty — resulting in Suarez running into the tunnel to celebrate — and Uruguay finally reached the semifinals after the shootout.
Portugal, with Cristiano Ronaldo likely to feature in his last World Cup, and South Korea complete Group H in what will probably be one of the more difficult groups to predict.
Qatar 2022 is also likely to be Lionel Messi’s last World Cup for Argentina. Like Ronaldo, the 34-year-old has never won a World Cup, but came close to losing in 2014, losing to Germany in the final.
Under Lionel Scaloni, Argentina are in a much better place than they were four years ago in Russia and will certainly be confident of exiting a group that includes Mexico, Poland and Saudi Arabia.
Canada’s prize for qualifying for the first World Cup in 36 years is a battle against the two main protagonists of European football in recent years. Belgium, the old world number 1 until recently ousted by Brazil, and 2018 finalists Croatia will provide a tough test.
So is Morocco, which boasts talented stars like Chelsea’s Hakim Ziyech and PSG’s Achraf Hakimi.
The draw was led by former Carli Lloyd players, Jermaine Jenas and international sports presenter Samantha Johnson.
They were assisted by a number of great footballers, most notably Cafu from Brazil, Lothar Matthäus from Germany, Ali Daei from Iran, Jay-Jay Okocha from Nigeria and Tim Cahill from Australia.