Ronaldo relaxed ahead of 2018 World Cup draw

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Ronaldo celebrates EURO 2016 triumph

National flags are flying high in anticipation to the upcoming FIFA World Cup 2018 final draw on Friday. 

Many football fans are awaiting the final draw scheduled on December 1 at the Kremlin Palace, Moscow. The mood is averagely calm as captains of their respective national teams discussed their expectations in wake of the draw on Friday.

Cristiano Ronaldo, Neymar and Lionel Messi were faced with one-on-one questions from FIFA about their thoughts and feelings as the final draw is set. The Iberian winger looked calm as he tackled the questions thrown at him.

“I’m relaxed because, although some teams are stronger than others, all the groups will be balanced,” Ronaldo noted although there are huge possibilities of Portugal being placed in a group of death.

He continued:

“I’m calm because I know that, when the time comes, the team will be ready.

“Whoever we’re drawn against, we have to win, no matter what,” the skipper concluded.

Portugal have been placed in Pot 1 as one of the heavyweights in World Football as per the October 2017 FIFA rankings. After securing the 2016 Euro Championship in France, the world’s third-ranked nation seems to have rediscovered its superiority thanks to the uprising form of their star man Ronaldo who banged in 15 goals en route to automatic Russia 2018 qualification.

WHICH GROUP OF DEATH COULD PORTUGAL FIND THEMSELVES IN?

With the number of qualified teams from Europe, there is a likelihood of Portugal being paired with a European powerhouse as the draw’s criteria states that a maximum of two UEFA teams per group is possible. Facing Spain would be a difficult task for the European champions as previous meetings have gone in favor of the 2010 World Cup winners.

Group of Death scenario 1:

  • Portugal – UEFA (Pot 1)
  • Spain – UEFA (Pot 2)
  • Egypt – CAF (Pot 3)
  • Japan – AFC (Pot 4)

Portugal have faced African teams in their three previous World Cup groups. It is well expected that the 2004 Euro finalists would be paired with an African nation for the fourth time. However, unlike Angola and Ghana which they defeated in 2006 and 2014 respectively, West African giants Nigeria stand out as one of the most dangerous teams to face at the 2018 World Cup. Fresh from stunning Argentina 4-2 in a friendly in mid-November, the Super Eagles feel ready to humble FIFA’s highly ranked national teams come next summer.

Group of Death scenario 2:

  • Portugal – UEFA (Pot 1)
  • England – UEFA (Pot 2)
  • Costa Rica – CONCACAF (Pot 3)
  • Nigeria – CAF (Pot 4)

Fernando Santos’s men are awaiting their opponents as the Russia 2018 draw approaches. Join the discussion and send your predictions via the comments field below.

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