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Last Updated Monday April 23 2018 02:33 PM IST

FIFA World Cup 2018: Six must-watch games in group stage

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FIFA World Cup 2016: Six must-watch games in group stage The groupings for next year's FIFA World Cup. Reuters

The anxious wait is over as the groupings for next year's FIFA World Cup finals in Russia is out. Hosts Russia, who have been placed in a rather easy Group A, will take on Saudi Arabia in the inaugural match in Moscow on June 14.

As the 32 teams battle it out for the ultimate prize in world football, Onmanorama picks six must-watch games in the group stage.

1. Group B: Portugal vs Spain, Sochi, June 15 (11.30 pm IST)

European champions Portugal and former World Cup winners Spain open their campaign with a high-voltage clash in Sochi. A defeat will put enormous pressure on the losers as they will have to contend with African challengers Morocco and Asian powerhouse Iran in a rather tricky Group B.

2. Group D: Argentina vs Croatia, Nizhny, June 21 (11.30 pm IST)

Lionel Messi's Argentina will be up against the talented Croatians in the marquee Group D game. The winners of this game are expected to top the group, which also consists of Nigeria and debutants Iceland.

3. Group F: Germany vs Sweden, Sochi, June 23 (11.30 pm IST)

Defending champions Germany meet Sweden in the most-anticipated clash in Group E. The Swedes, who eliminated Italy by winning their play-off 1-0, will possess stiff challenge to Joachim Loew's men.

4. Group H: Poland vs Colombia, Kazan, June 24 (11.30 pm IST)

The game between the two attacking sides is expected to determine who will top Group H, which also features Senegal and Japan.

5. Group C: Denmark vs France, Moscow, June 26 (7.30 pm IST)

Though the French are the overwhelming favorites, the Danes are expected to give Les Bleus a run for their money. The winners will in probability top the group, with Australia and Peru being the other sides.

6. Group G: England vs Belgium, Kaliningrad, June 28 (11.30 pm IST)

The general feeling is that both England and Belgium would have sealed their spot in the last-16 by the time they meet in their final Group G game. Debutants Panama and Tunisia are the other teams in the fray and the winners of this big game will most likely top the group.

Read also: More Football NewsChandimal takes a dig at India's claims of preparations for SA tour

The opinions expressed here do not reflect those of Malayala Manorama. Legal action under the IT Act will be taken against those making derogatory and obscene statements.

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