Lionel Messi’s breathtaking hat-trick against Ecuador which sealed a place in Russia already seems like a distant memory but Argentina’s World Cup dreams became a great deal more real on Friday with the tournament draw taking place in Moscow.
Among the top seeds, La Albiceleste were drawn in Group D, where they will face Croatia, Iceland and Nigeria.
Having avoided Spain or England, many in Argentina will be grateful that Jorge Sampaoli’s side didn’t get the toughest possible group but it was certainly not the easiest draw either.
Here they are! The groups for the 2018 FIFA World Cup Russia! ??????
— #WorldCupDraw ?? (@FIFAWorldCup) December 1, 2017
Croatia may have arrived in Russia via the playoffs but still pose a considerable threat when looking at their talented side and the reason the Croats required that tie against Greece to progress was because they finished behind Iceland in UEFA qualifying.
The two will meet again and although minnows Iceland might be the smallest nation to reach the tournament, they proved in the European Championships they should not be underestimated.
And finally, Nigeria, the side who recently beat Argentina in a friendly in Russia. The Super Eagles qualified in impressive fashion from a difficult group containing Algeria, Cameroon and Zambia but have already given Sampaoli with plenty to think about.
— OptaJavier (@OptaJavier) December 1, 2017