The much anticipated draw for the 2018 World Cup takes place on Friday afternoon – and here’s everything you need to know about it.
Thirty-one nations had to earn their place at the finals via qualification, while hosts Russia were granted automatic entry. Of that number as many as 20 countries competed in the 2014 edition – which was won by Germany – while there are two tournament debutants in Iceland and Panama.
Some nations are back at a World Cup following long absences, while the likes of Italy, the Netherlands, Chile and Cameroon are just a number of noteable omissions.
Closer to home, England are the only one of the British sides to earn a place at the table in Moscow and Gareth Southgate’s men will soon learn their fate, having gone through their qualifying campaign undefeated once more.
With that said, there is bound to be so many questions in regards to the World Cup draw. Luckily we have got all bases covered.
Draw assistant Oliver Bierhoff holds up the name England during the European Zone draw at the 2018 FIFA World Cup qualifier draw back in 2015
When will the World Cup draw take place?
Friday December 1 in Russia’s capital city of Moscow at the State Kremlin Palace – frequently used as a concert hall – and is scheduled to get underway at 3pm (UK time),6pm local time.
BBC Two will be covering all the action, while Match of the Day and BT Sport host Gary Lineker will be co-presenting with Russian journalist Maria Komandnaya.
What are the World Cup draw seedings?
Each of the 32 teams have been placed in the pots according to their position in the Fifa world rankings for October.
Therefore, pot one contains the seven highest-ranked teams such has Germany, Brazil and Argentina plus Russia, who are in Group A due to being the host nation. Pot two is where you’ll find England and Spain as well as the next six teams in the rankings, then repeat this formula for pots three and four respectively.
The pots are as follows:
Pot 1: Russia (hosts), Germany, Brazil, Portugal, Argentina, Belgium, Poland, France
Pot 2: Spain, Peru, Switzerland,
England, Colombia, Uruguay, Mexico, Croatia
Pot 3: Denmark, Iceland, Costa Rica, Sweden, Tunisia, Egypt, Senegal, Iran
Pot 4: Serbia, Nigeria, Australia, Japan, Morocco, Panama, South Korea, Saudi Arabia
How does the World Cup draw work?
The 32 finalists will be split into eight four-team groups, which will contain one team from each pot.
As it has the largest pool of qualified nations, there can be a maximum of two European sides per group. However, no other football confederation can have more than one team in a group. For example, no South American sides will paired together in the group phase.
Each group will play three matches, before the top two countries advance to the second round.
Has there been a practice run for World Cup draw?
Yes there has. Mr. Lineker actually provided details of a dress rehearsal via his official Twitter account earlier in the week and it had England drawn in Group A with Russia.
Interestingly France – many people’s tip to have a strong tournament – were in Group B there the Three Lions would have to top their group to avoid Les Bleus in this scenario.