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01st Dec 2017

Gary Lineker couldn’t resist a joke about Diego Maradona and Italy at the World Cup draw

He went there


Gary Lineker hosted the draw for the 2018 World Cup on Friday afternoon.

Lineker, a critic of Fifa in the past, was in Moscow to make the draw and shared the stage with some greats of the game.

And after an hour in Russia, we finally found out the groups for next summer’s tournament.

The hosts Russia were drawn in possibly the easiest group imaginable, facing Uruguay, Egypt and Saudi Arabia. The opening game of the tournament will be the hosts against Saudi Arabia in Moscow on June 14, which isn’t exactly the most exciting fixture.

England open their campaign with a game against Tunisia on June 18, before playing Panama and then Belgium, the top seeds in Group G, in their final group game.

During the draw, Lineker treated the audience in attendance and millions watching around the world to some gags. The former Barcelona striker, who won the Golden Boot for the top goalscorer at the 1986 World Cup in Mexico, first took the piss out of his old foe Diego Maradona, the man who knocked England out of that tournament.

The Argentine legend scored the first goal in the 2-1 win over England in the quarter-finals of that tournament with his hand, and Lineker couldn’t resist a joke about it. Some of the audience members didn’t seem to get the joke, or it’s possible that it was just lost in translation.

The Match of the Day presenter then had a joke at Italy’s expense.

The Azzurri failed to qualify for the 2018 World Cup, the first time they’ve been absent from the greatest stage in international football since 1958, after losing a play-off against Sweden. Lineker referred to this as Fabio Cannavaro, the Italian World Cup winning captain, drew Serbia in Group E alongside Brazil, Switzerland and Costa Rica.

You can watch Lineker here: