Destiny awaits our beloved Seleção in Russia next summer.

In the official draw for the 2018 World Cup finals in Moscow, Portugal were slotted into Group B and given the task of overcoming their Iberian brethren to the east and a familiar foe in Carlos Quieroz, the manager of Iran.

Morocco rounded out a difficult, but not overwhelming Group B. The Seleção will play their first match of the World Cup in Sochi before traveling to Moscow and will complete the group stage in Saransk.

Portugal's position in Group B is arguably favorable in terms of potential Round of 16 opponents as well. Of the teams drawn into Group A, none appear particularly menacing on paper with Russia and Uruguay favored to compete for qualification from the group.

The game of permutations will now go into overdrive for the next 6 months. In a twist of luck, Portugal will face Spain first in the group and regardless of that outcome will still have every chance to progress pending the results of their other two matches, a far more palatable situation compared to the possibility of a final group stage match with Spain needing maximum points, for example.

In Carlos Quieroz's incarnation of Iran, Portugal will face a very tough defense that allowed only two goals in their ten World Cup qualifying matches, albeit against the likes of Syria, South Korea, and Uzbekistan. Iran was undefeated in qualifying, but were held to nil-nil draws several times by much weaker opponents, a sign that their attacking momentum may not be able to carry them to victory against tougher opposition.

Morocco are a team fairly untested outside of matches against opponents from within Africa, their last match against a European opponent ending in a 1-0 defeat to Finland in January of this year. Even so, they were undefeated in their qualification group and allowed zero goals scored while holding out traditional World Cup qualifiers Ivory Coast and Mali in the process.

Though there are no certainties in football, one takeaway from the draw seems to be the need for Portugal to be highly adaptive. Against Spain, the Seleção will likely be forced to play a pragmatic, counterattacking style but then immediately transform into a team that dominates possession and pries open tough defenses against Morocco and Iran. As every Seleção fan knows, teams that park the bus have historically been a difficult prospect for Portugal.

All three nations have tournament history with Portugal. Morocco dramatically knocked Portugal out of the 1986 version while Cristiano Ronaldo scored his first ever World Cup goal in a 2-0 victory over the Iranians in the 2006 group stage. The Seleção played Spain more recently, losing 1-0 in South Africa in 2010, when the Spaniards went on to lift the trophy.

It. Is. On.

Força Seleção.

by Nathan Motz your social media marketing partner

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  • Guest - SupremoGino

    Very excited about this draw. In Euro 2012 we played Germany first, lost by the closest of margins and went on the beat Denmark and The Netherlands. The dutch were very strong at that time after being finalists in 2010, a lot of pundits expected them to qualify ahead of us. With Denmark we had some very competitive matches in qualifying. Portugal performed superbly to get out from that group.

    Now it's Spain first and I believe our current side is just as strong if not stronger than in 2012. While Spain is still a quality side, they have underwhelmed in the last couple tournaments. Eliminated by Italy in the round of 16 at last Euros, and failed to get out of the group at the 2014 FIFA world cup. Their era of dominance has been dwindling away. I think we have every chance of beating them in the first match. Let alone coming away with at least a point.

    It all sets up perfectly to play Morocco and Iran. Portugal has no choice but to step into high gear right from the start. Even if we lose, it sets up the same scenario to bounce back and win our next two matches. I see that Morocco did not concede a goal in their qualifying group. W3 D3. So they shouldn't be underestimated. But with all due respect to these teams Morocco and Iran are not on the same level of The Netherlands and Denmark five years back. Morocco also had Gabon, Mali, and Ivory Coast in their WCQ group. Ivory Coast is the most notable for me but they've plummeted down in ranking since 2013.

    All in all feeling very good to qualify from the group and excited play Spain first. Santos will have our guys mentally ready to go from the start. Let's get out of the group, bonus if we can afford to rest some players before the next round and from there let the chips fall where they may.

    Força Portugal!

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  • Guest - jon/usa

    There's no such thing as an "easy" group at the world cup, but this is certainly one that Portugal should be able to navigate without too many problems. I'm glad we're getting Spain out of the way first. They've definitely got incredible individual quality, but I also feel like they have plenty of defensive flaws that we can exploit -- I've also never been sold on Julen Lopetegui as coach. A draw wouldn't be the worst result in the world, but there's no reason why we can't win.

    Morocco and Iran will also present their own challenges, but if we play to our potential, we should win both games. My only concern at the moment is the lack of playing time of some of our key players including Andre Silva, Joao Mario, Adrien, and Bernardo Silva. That being said, if everyone is fit, I have no doubt that we will have more than enough quality to make a very deep run and perhaps even pose a genuine threat to Germany, Brazil, France, and Spain. We're by no means favorites, but we're definitely still contenders.

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  • Guest - Sam

    Rated 5 out of 5 stars

    I like the draw and it will be exciting to watch each match. Portugal SHOULD at least get out of the group in 2nd place but as we know anything can happen. I just hope Santos fields the right team and that Portugal has no major injuries going into the WC. Especially in the CB position. Forca Portugal!

    from Boston, MA, USA
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  • Guest - Justin/rochester

    All in all I'm pleased with the draw. Portugal and Spain are the clear favorites with Spain in all reality being better than us but not by much. My only fear is our lack of scoring options against teams that will park the bus and play defensively against us. Let's just say we lose to Spain, our next two games we need to win we don't want any draws. Iran and morocco will be annoyingly effective against us and pack the middle of the defense and wait for us "predictably" to cross from the wings. If we lose one game, win one and draw one then I'm not sure how the qualifying works for second place teams. My fear is that either Iran or Morocco will do the same thing we do in the group. I guess I'm over analyzing this whole thing but I'm just really scared to play against these "weaker" teams because they'll no how to read us. Anyways, I think us drawing Spain means Goncalo is almost guaranteed to be on the plane assuming he continues to play well for Valencia and I think he will. If we get out of the first round though I like our matchups against the 1st or 2nd place team of group A regardless of who it is. Preferably not Uruguay but I still think we're better than them. So only time will tell and I hope I don't sound to pessimistic. I just can see us struggling to break down these defenses that will park the bus against us. Hope what I said makes sense.

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  • Guest - casablanca

    Don't forget that in 1986 world cup Morocco eliminated Portugal in the first round 3-1 for Morocco and passed first in its group to the second round with england

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  • Guest - Andre/UK

    Overall a pretty pleasing draw for the Selecao! As usual with a draw, it could've been better (i.e a weaker team than Spain from pot 2) and could've been worse (stronger teams than Morocco or Iran from pots 3 and 4). Nevertheless one has to fancy our chances of finishing at least second in the group and qualifying. Despite not being the force they once were, Spain are still a very strong team with a good generation of younger players emerging and will be a very tough matchup for us no doubt about it. In my opinion though, their big flaw is their stubborn devotion to tiki taka and overall lack of flexibility (which was seriously exposed in the last two international tournaments), which remains the style of play under Lopetegui. Under Santos' leadership, we have the strength and fighting spirit and tactical discipline to counter Spain's tiki taka style. As others have mentioned, I'm also glad that we play Spain first. This should mean we enter the tournament with maximum concentration and effort, which as we all know has not always been the case with the Selecao.

    Morocco are a potentially dangerous opponent. They are always good technically and looking at their qualifying record, they clearly have a strong defence. In Renard they have a very good coach too, who did wonders in winning the African Cup of Nations with Zambia a few years ago. They are not to be taken lightly, but I think our experience and overall talent will prove too much for them. Iran will be an interesting match, as they are coached by Queiroz, who will clearly know everything about us. His defensive style means in theory they are the team most likely to park the bus against us, but the fact that we play with a proper front 2 these days means we are better equipped to come up against park the bus tactics than we were in the past.

    All in all, I'm very confident of progressing from the group, and as we saw last year anything is possible once you're in the knock out rounds.

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  • Guest - Paulo6

    If Portugal comes in with no injuries , Ronaldo 100% focussed, and the entire TEAM 100% focused Portugal will go far.
    In Santos I believe we will come in mentally focused, unlike the past (2002 joke, ETC). I am also hoping for a clean efficient first game against Spain
    And mistakes are NOT made like the first game in 2014 (epic beat down, Pepe red card,ETC).

    How do the cards work again in WC, erased after group stage, OR?.

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  • I think it’s a great draw!

    I reckon Portugal and Spain will play out a goalless and draw and then it will come down to goal difference for first place in the group.

    It’s not only the last 16 draw that is favourable.. we can’t face Germany nor Brazil until the semi finals regardless of whether we finish first or second in the group.

    In the quarter finals we will face one of France, Croatia, Migeria or Iceland or Denmark (I don’t see Argentina getting out of their group!)!

    Força Portugal!!

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  • Pleased with the Group, I think for the first time in the last 3 world cups, Portugal has been drawn into a not so difficult group, the last 3 world cups at least, Portugal were drawn into what we refer today as THE GROUP OF DEATH, we deserve a break in that department I guess, however Portugal need to be very careful and not get complacent, I believe we have enough quality to compete with the best of them, baring all injuries of course, even for teams in our groups that like to park the bus, Portugal should not worry, this same Portuguese side that beat a team like Switzerland, a team that in my opinion and most of you I would assume is stronger and better than Iran and Morocco at parking the bus, Portugal will be just fine, we have enough fire power to overwhelm and breakdown any defense in this world cup, I believe in Santos, we'll have this guys ready to go, after winning the Euro Cup, Portugal knows they can compete with anyone, now it's time to show the world what we got.....Go Portugal!!!

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  • Rated 5 out of 5 stars

    It took Porto almost 2 years to recover from the mess Lopesticky left behind when he left. I have full confidence that clown is making a mess of the Spanish national side as well.

    Fernando Santos vs Lopesticky is like a Rolls Royce vs a Dodge Dart.

    from Pyongyang, North Korea
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