Germany opens World Cup title defence against Norway

ST. PETERSBURG: Holder Germany will open its World Cup title defense against Norway.

A day after the qualifying draw for the 2018 tournament, the European fixtures were announced by UEFA, with Germany handed an away trip first in Group C on Sept. 4, 2016.

The draw put traditional rivals and European powers together, with only group winners guaranteed a place in Russia.

In Group A, the Netherlands opens in Sweden on Sept. 6, 2016 and the reverse fixture is their final qualifier on Oct. 10 the following year. The Dutch play France on Oct. 10, 2016 and go to Paris on Aug. 31, 2017.

In Group G, 2006 World Cup winner Italy hosts Spain in their second game on Oct. 6, 2016 and plays the away meeting against the 2010 champions on Sept. 2, 2017.

In Group F, England hosts Scotland on Nov. 11, 2016, then travels to Glasgow on June 10 the following year.