Morocco's Benatia looking forward to Fifa World Cup games

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Speaking to the press after the draw, Morocco's coach, Herve Renard, said, "We wanted to be at this World Cup, and now we are here".

Iran have been drawn in Group B along with Spain, Portugal and Morocco. Also in the group are Uruguay and Egypt. 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.

Defending World Cup and 2017 Confederations Cup champions Germany drew Mexico, European playoff winners Sweden and South Korea in a tough Group F.

Hong Kong - Carlos Queiroz has challenged Iran's football authorities to sack him as head coach of the country's national team if they do not appreciate his public criticism of their preparations for the 2018 World up in Russian Federation.

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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.

And Benatia who scored a goal in seven games as Herve Renard's men ended their 20 years wait for a World Cup ticket, is already eyeing a place in Russian Federation when the tournament kicks off on June 14. Portugal is a great team, Morocco has not lost a game in qualifying.

Belhanda added; "Playing against big stars like Cristiano Ronaldo and Andres Iniesta is exceptional and it will bring so much happiness to us".

But Alex Ferguson's former assistant remains a hugely popular figure with Iranian football fans after securing back-to-back World Cup qualifications for the country for the first time in their history.