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How did the four Arab teams fare in the World Cup draw? Open in fullscreen

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How did the four Arab teams fare in the World Cup draw?

Officials from the 32 World Cup teams gathered in Moscow for the draw [Getty]

Date of publication: 2 December, 2017

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Four Arab nations have finally learned their long-awaited opponents for next year's FIFA World Cup in Russia next year following Friday's draw.

Four Arab countries have finally learned their long-awaited opponents for next year's FIFA World Cup in Russia.

Officials from the 32 World Cup teams - including Egypt, Saudi Arabia, Morocco and Tunisia - gathered in Moscow for the draw on Friday to find out who will play who at the tournament.

Saudi Arabia and Egypt were placed together in Group A with the host nation Russia, along with Uruguay.

Russia will face Saudi Arabia on 14 June in the opening game of the World Cup in Moscow.

The Pharaohs will then play Riyadh's Green Falcons on 25 June in Volgograd.

Saudi Arabia's preparations for Russia have been far from ideal since qualifying for a fifth World Cup with two coaches fired.

Juan Antonio Pizzi - who was named on Tuesday as the new coach - will be tasked with improving on Saudi Arabia's best-ever performance at a World Cup, following the kingdom's second-round exit at the 1994 tournament in the US.

Egypt has waited a long time to be back at the World Cup. The record seven-time African champions last qualified in 1990.

The team hit new lows recently, failing to even qualify for the African Cup of Nations from 2012-15. But it is back now, reaching the final of this year's African Cup and following that up with a long-awaited World Cup return.

Morocco was placed in Group B along with Iran, Portugal and Spain.

It has taken 20 years for Morocco to get back to the World Cup.

The North African team features several promising young talents, including Ajax midfielder Hakim Ziyech and Younes Belhanda. Ziyech returned to the squad after making peace with coach Herve Renard.

The Lions of the Atlas will face off against Iran on 15 June in Saint Petersburg.

Fellow North African team Tunisia was drawn alongside England, Belgium and Panama.

Unbeaten during its qualifying campaign, Tunisia is making a return to the World Cup for the first time in 12 years.

The Eagles of Carthage qualified for Russia ahead of Democratic Republic of Congo, Libya and Guinea and will take part their fifth World Cup.

They have never got beyond the group stage.

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