The World Cup 2018 draw for all footballing confederations was made in the Konstantin Palace, St.Petersburg this weekend.
The European section will feature 52 nations across nine different groups. The winner will automatically qualify for the World Cup finals stage, while the eight highest finishing runners-up will feature in a play-off for the remaining four spots.
FIFA World Cup 2018 European qualification groups
Group A appears to be the so-called 'Group of Death' featuring Netherlands, France and Sweden. All three nations have high World Cup pedigree, and prior to the draw would have had strong aspirations not only to qualify, but to have performed strongly in the finals stage.
First seeds Wales have been drawn with the Republic of Ireland in a fairly even Group D, also featuring Austria and Serbia.
The oldest fixture in internatinal football will see England and Scotland renewing rivalries in Group F, 143 years after their first match.
After the draw, England manger Roy Hodgson remarked that: 'The games against Scotland will be the highlights.' Scotland manager, Gordon Strachan too echoed his adversary's sentiments: “There were a lot of delirious punters here at Hampden. The whole of Scotland and England will look forward to the games.”
However, both teams will be delighted with the favourable group and will strongly fancy their chances of finishing in the top two.
Out of the home nations, Northern Ireland will rue their luck after have been handed the severest test against current champions Germany, but the Czech Republic and Norway will also offer stern tests.
Elsewhere in other qualifying groups, Spain and Italy will serve a mouth-watering clash of two footballing superpowers in Group G. However, both teams will surely finish in the top two, with the other nations in the group unlikely to offer significant resistance.