European champions Portugal and Spain meet in Sochi to kick off the group and while that is not the start either side would have wanted, they both should still make progress with Morocco, qualifiers for the first time since 1998, and Iran, managed by Carlos Queiroz, the other sides involved.

Spain will be keen to make up for their flop in Brazil four years ago when they failed to survive the group stage while for Portugal’s Cristiano Ronaldo it could be his last chance to make a real impression at a World Cup.