After the World Cup draw took place earlier this afternoon, we’re looking at who the Arsenal players will face at the competition next summer.
The Gunners should have a number of players attending the World Cup in Russia next summer, so we’re looking at who those players will be facing by looking at each country with Arsenal players as regulars.
Olivier Giroud, Laurent Koscielny and Alexandre Lacazette should all be pretty delighted with their draw. Australia, Peru and Denmark shouldn’t present much of a challenge at all for one of the favourites for the competition.
The three Arsenal men should have no trouble against Eriksen given how poorly he tends to perform against them, and the other two countries have very few players in England. That can be a disadvantage, in that they won’t know them as well, but overall that group will be what they were hoping for.
Danny Welbeck, Theo Walcott and Jack Wilshere haven’t played much of a part for their country recently, but there’s still time to get back in the picture, and maybe even Calum Chambers or Rob Holding hold out a small hope too – you never know! If any of them do make Southgate’s squad, they’ll face Belgium, Panama and Tunisia. Not the toughest of groups, but I’m sure England will find some way to make it difficult for themselves.
The World Champions drew Mexico, Sweden and Korea Republic in their group. Shkodran Mustafi and Mesut Özil should both have a spot on the plane guaranteed, and I’m sure club captain, Per Mertesacker, will be cheering them on after his retirement at the end of the club season.
Nacho Monreal and Hector Bellerín could both travel to Russia with Spain, and they have the most exciting first game of the group stages, with a clash with Portugal and Cristiano Ronaldo. Morocco and Iran make up the rest of the group, and it could be a tough one, but Spain will always expect to make the knockout rounds.
No surprise here, as Nigeria drew Argentina again. Iwobi recently scored two in a friendly against the South American side, so that should give him and his countrymen a bit of confidence ahead of the summer. The other two teams in the group are Croatia and Iceland. No doubt Alex’s England teammates will warn against underestimating Iceland.
6. Japan and Colombia
On-loan Takuma Asano will face up against Poland, Senegal and David Ospina with Colombia if he travels with his country to Russia next summer. It will be tough for Takuma and Japan, but they would have been prepared for a challenge regardless of the outcome of the draw.
Colombia will have higher expectations after their performance in 2014, and will certainly be hoping to qualify for the knockout stages.
Mohamed Elneny and Egypt will face Russia, Saudi Arabia and Uruguay. It’s not the toughest possible draw considering the pot 1 teams available, but facing Uruguay and playing the hosts, with the fans against them, won’t be easy.
8. Switzerland and Costa Rica
Granit Xhaka and Joel Campbell both ended up in Group E together with Brazil and Serbia. I can’t imagine either player feels that they’d got an easy draw. Serbia were arguably the team to avoid from pot 4, and you could almost say the same of Brazil in pot 1. That’s before they even have to face each other. I certainly wouldn’t bet on both players being in the knockout rounds, but who knows?