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9 June, 2018 00:00 00 AM
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Russia World Cup Build-up

Spain, Panama reach Moscow

AFP
Spain, Panama reach Moscow
Panama’s Jose Calderon (C) poses for a selfie after disembarking from an airplane at Saransk airport on Thursday as Panama's national football team arrives ahead of the Russia 2018 World Cup. AFP photo

AFP, MOSCOW: Former World Cup winners Spain and debutants Panama arrived in Russia on Thursday for the 21st edition of the global football spectacle.

The pair and Saudi Arabia complete a trio of teams to have made it to Russia one week before next Thursday's kickoff in Moscow.

Spain won the World Cup in 2010 and are one of the tournament's favourites. They remain unbeaten in 19 matches under coach Julen Lopetegui, who took over the reins following the 2016 Euros.

Spain were seen off personally by King Filipe VI and will play their final warm-up against Tunisia on Saturday by their base camp in the southern city of Krasnodar.

The Spaniards launch their campaign with one of the more anticipated group stage matches -- a June 15 clash against Iberian rivals Portugal in the 2014 Winter Olympics host city Sochi.

The winner will be in pole position to come out on top in a Group B that also includes Morocco and Iran.

Panama snuck past the United States and Honduras to clinch their first World Cup appearance on a dramatic last day of qualifiers in the CONCACAF region.

Panama will have to score more upsets to progress in a Group G that includes Belgium and England as well a highly touted Tunisia side now ranked 14 by FIFA. Both teams' arrival was carried live by Russia's national rolling news channel. The Central Americans' preparations ended on a sour note in Oslo on Wednesday: they lost 1-0 and saw their hotel rooms get robbed during the game.

At around the time that World Cup minnows Panama were playing Norway this week, thieves were busy rifling their Oslo hotel rooms, police told yesterday. The Panamanian football federation tweeted: "Three Panamayor hotel rooms were robbed in Oslo, Norway. Norwegian police are at the scene looking for clues."

Police say objects worth around 53,000 euros were taken from three rooms in a downtown Oslo hotel, explaining thieves are thought to have used an old magnetic room key or a stolen one and that video footage would be examined.

Police spokeswoman said the robbery probably took place at the same time as Panama were being beaten by Norway on Wednesday in a match that ended 1-0. Panama will make their World Cup debut in Russia, where the central Americans will face England, Belgium and Tunisia in Group G. Panama kick off their campaign against Belgium in Sochi on June 18, the same day group G opponents Tunisia host England.

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Editor : M. Shamsur Rahman

Published by the Editor on behalf of Independent Publications Limited at Media Printers, 446/H, Tejgaon I/A, Dhaka-1215.
Editorial, News & Commercial Offices : Beximco Media Complex, 149-150 Tejgaon I/A, Dhaka-1208, Bangladesh. GPO Box No. 934, Dhaka-1000.

Editor : M. Shamsur Rahman
Published by the Editor on behalf of Independent Publications Limited at Media Printers, 446/H, Tejgaon I/A, Dhaka-1215.
Editorial, News & Commercial Offices : Beximco Media Complex, 149-150 Tejgaon I/A, Dhaka-1208, Bangladesh. GPO Box No. 934, Dhaka-1000.

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