Portugal to meet Spain in group matches of FIFA World Cup

Stanislav Cherchesov

World Cup newcomers Iceland were meanwhile handed a match against Lionel Messi and Argentina on June 16 - a draw coach Heimar Hallgrimsson described as "romantic".

"It's not the first time I say this and I'm not saying it now because we are going to face them".

The ceremony had Legends of the game representing the eight previous World Cup-winning nations, which included Brazil's Cafu, Italy's Fabio Cannavaro, Uruguay's Diego Forlan, Germany's Miroslav Klose, Argentina's Diego Maradona and Spain's Carles Puyol. "I believe that the best thing a coach has to do is optimise and make the most of the virtues of his players", Lopetegui told Barcelona-based sports newspaper Mundo Deportivo on Wednesday.

"You know football, you always have a chance", said Iceland coach Heimir Hallgrimsson.

The World Cup groups have been set, and it's possible that the two greatest players on Earth could meet in the final.

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La Roja have overcome their Iberian neighbours in their past two meetings in major competitions and have gone on to win the title after those encounters. This is the most hard group by average SPI rating, with the four teams having an average rank of 81.7 out of 100.

"They are a good side", Lopetegui said. "The ideal group", the government- run R-Sport news agency shouted in a banner headline on its website after the State Kremlin Palace draw saw them paired with Saudi Arabia and Egypt for next year's finals.

Iran's Portuguese coach Carlos Queiroz, who also had a brief spell in charge at Real Madrid, was more enthusiastic as he claimed he couldn't have wished for a better draw. "It's going to be a hard tournament". France's Group C is still the toughest of the lot. "They are the champions of Europe and they have fantastic players", Lopetegui told Spanish TV station Cuatro.

Morocco will face Iran first on June 15 in Saint Petersburg.

"The World Cup is a competition in which you can not make mistakes, they have less to lose than we do and that is what makes them more risky".

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