All you need to know about the World Cup Draw
The who, what and when of next week's World Cup Draw25 November 2017 | FT Editor
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Not much longer to wait to find out who we'll be playing at next year's World Cup with the Draw to take place next Friday at the Kremlin Palace in Moscow (the early hours of Saturday morning Australian time), co-hosted by none other than Gary Lineker and a local TV personality, Maria Komandnaya.
Other football stars taking part include Miroslav Klose, Laurent Blanc, Cafu, Diego Forlan and the ubiquituous Fabio Cannavaro (who, it must be said, seems to turn-up at the opening of an envelope when it comes to FIFA events).
What is the format of the draw?
The 32 teams are split into four pots, with Russia and the seven highest-ranked nations in pot one, and the lowest-ranked teams in pot four. The rankings that apply are those from October, not the recently announced rankings that saw Australia improve its position to 39th in the world.
Each group will have one team from each pot, but there are restrictions in terms of teams from the same confederations. There can be no more than two European nations in any group, and there may only be a single country from each of the other confederations.
Who is in the draw?
The line-up for the draw is as follows:
Pot 1: Russia, Germany, Brazil, Portugal, Argentina, Belgium, Poland, France
Pot 2: Spain, Peru, Switzerland, England, Colombia, Mexico, Uruguay, Croatia
Pot 3: Denmark, Iceland, Costa Rica, Sweden, Tunisia, Egypt, Senegal, Iran
Pot 4: Serbia, Nigeria, Australia, Japan, Morocco, Panama, South Korea, Saudi Arabia
When is the World Cup?
If you're not going to the World Cup, you might want to set aside holiday time so you can watch it in what will be largely unfriendly times for Australia.
The opening game between hosts Russia and whoever comes out of the pot will be held at Moscow's Luzhniki Stadium (pictured) on 14 June local time.
The group stage will run for exactly two weeks, with the knockout phase then beginning on 30 June two days after the final Group H contests.
The final will take place on July 15, once again in Moscow.
Our hope for the group stage?
Russia, Peru, Costa Rica
Brazil, Spain, Iceland
2018 world cup