November 16, 2019, 16:49

2018 World Cup draw: What is the format? Who has qualified? Who can England draw?

2018 World Cup draw: What is the format? Who has qualified? Who can England draw?

With the World Cup draw taking place on Friday, we have your ultimate guide, including how it works, who is involved and how you can follow on Sky Sports.

England will be joined in the draw by former world champions Germany, Brazil, Argentina and Spain, with the 32 qualified teams being split into eight groups of four.

Here is everything you need to know about the draw for next summer’s showpiece…

When and where is it?

The draw for the group stages of the 2018 World Cup will be held on Friday, December 1 in Moscow with the ceremony set to start at 3pm GMT.

It will take place at the State Kremlin Palace inside the Moscow Kremlin and you will be able to follow the draw live on Sky Sports digital platforms and Sky Sports News.

A FIFA spokesperson said: “This prestigious entertainment venue with a capacity of 6,000 spectators has hosted many international and locally renowned artists in the past, as well as traditional ballets and operas.”

Who is involved?

There will be 32 teams in the draw, with 31 having qualified for the tournament and Russia securing their place as hosts. Of the six worldwide confederations, UEFA will have the most sides (14) at the competition, while Oceania have no representatives after New Zealand lost to Peru, South America’s fifth-ranked nation, in a play-off.

  • UEFA (Europe): Russia, France, Portugal, Germany, Serbia, Poland, England, Spain, Belgium, Iceland, Switzerland, Croatia, Sweden, Denmark
  • CONMEBOL (South America): Brazil, Uruguay, Argentina, Colombia, Peru
  • CONCACAF (North/Central America and Caribbean): Mexico, Costa Rica, Panama
  • AFC (Asia): Iran, South Korea, Japan, Saudi Arabia, Australia
  • CAF (Africa): Tunisia, Nigeria, Morocco, Senegal, Egypt

How does the draw work?

In a change to previous editions, the 31 qualified teams will be allocated into four pots depending on their FIFA ranking as of October 16, 2017. That means the seven highest-ranked teams in the world will go into Pot 1 along with hosts Russia, with the rest of the teams then allocated pots in descending order of their rankings.

Germany, Brazil, Portugal, Argentina, Belgium and France are in Pot 1, while England will slot into Pot 2 alongside Spain, Mexico, Switzerland and Uruguay.

World Cup draw pots Pot 1 Pot 2 Pot 3 Pot 4 Russia (hosts) Spain (8) Denmark (19) Serbia (38) Germany (1) Peru (10) Iceland (21) Nigeria (41) Brazil (2) Switzerland (11) Costa Rica (22) Australia (43) Portugal (3) England (12) Sweden (25) Japan (44) Argentina (4) Colombia (13) Tunisia (28) Morocco (48) Belgium (5) Mexico (16) Egypt (30) Panama (49) Poland (6) Uruguay (17) Senegal (32) South Korea (62) France (7) Croatia (18) Iran (34) Saudi Arabia (63)

The four pots will then be emptied and teams will be drawn into four-team groups from A to H. The seven seeded teams in Pot 1 will go into the first slots of each group, with Russia automatically drawn into the A1 position, while the remaining teams will be randomly allocated one of the remaining three spots in each group.

There are some caveats, though, with no more than two UEFA teams allowed to be drawn in the same group and six of the eight groups set to have two European sides included. For the remaining federations, FIFA’s general principle is to ensure that no group has more than one team from the same qualification zone drawn into it.

For example, the CONMEBOL teams will not be able to draw each other so Argentina and Brazil in Pot 1 will not be able to draw Peru, Colombia or Uruguay from Pot 2.

Who will be doing the draw?

There are a range of famous faces set to help draw the groups with Gordon Banks, Laurent Blanc, Cafu, Fabio Cannavaro, Diego Forlan, Diego Maradona, Carles Puyol and Nikita Simonyan confirmed for the event.

Former England striker Gary Lineker is set to host the event alongside Russian sports journalist Maria Komandnaya while Miroslav Klose, who won the World Cup with Germany in 2014, will be the trophy bearer.

Who can England draw?

To state the obvious, England cannot draw teams in the same pot. With no more than two UEFA teams allowed in a group, if England are to draw either Germany, Portugal, Russia, Belgium, Poland or France from Pot 1, they will avoid Iceland, Sweden and Denmark in Pot 3 and Serbia in Pot 4.

Based on world rankings, England’s worst scenario would be a group with Germany, Costa Rica and Nigeria, while their best would be a group with Russia, Iran and Saudi Arabia.

How can I follow on Sky Sports?

Sky Sports News will be in Moscow to bring you a special World Cup draw programme with build-up and reaction, including interviews with Gareth Southgate, and will also be with England Supporters Club and Graeme Le Saux at Wembley as they watch the draw.

The Sunday Supplement panel discuss England's selection policy ahead of the World Cup draw on Friday

But if you cannot make it to a TV, have no fear, as Sky Sports’ digital platforms will be running a live blog from midday to bring you the draw as it happens, as well as all the build-up and reaction.

When is the World Cup?

The World Cup gets underway on Thursday 14 June with hosts Russia playing the opening match at the Luzhniki Stadium in Moscow. The final of the tournament is a month later on July 15.


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