It’s the draw for the 2018 World Cup, which is due to be held from June 14 to July 15 next year in Russia. We’ll find out the eight groups for the first stage of the tournament. Russia’s capital city, Moscow, is where the eyes of the world turn on Friday, specifically the State Kremlin Palace. The ceremony is scheduled for a 3pm start but as with most FIFA ceremonies, it will probably get going a while after that.
Who will host it ?
Former England striker and current host of Match of the Day Gary Lineker will lead proceedings, alongside Russian sports journalist Maria Komandnaya. They will be assisted at the draw by eight major names from World Cup’s past: France’s Laurent Blanc, England’s Gordon Banks, Brazil’s Cafu, Italy’s Fabio Cannavaro, Uruguay’s Diego Forlán, Argentina’s Diego Maradona, Spain’s Carles Puyol and Russia’s Nikita Simonyan.
What time will it start?
It will start at 6pm Russian time, 8.30pm Sri Lankan time or 3pm GMT
How does the draw work?
A total of 32 teams will feature at the 2018 World Cup, 31 of them coming through a qualifying campaign and one (Russia) making it as host nation. Back in September, FIFA announced that the 2018 draw will have every team seeded based on their October world ranking. Previously, only the top eight teams would be seeded with the remainder of the nations split by confederation.
Pot 1 will contain Russia and the highest-ranked seven teams. Pot 2 will feature the next best eight teams, and so on for Pots 3 and 4. The draw will divide the 32 teams into eight groups of four from A to H. Each group will play three matches, before the top two countries advance to the second round. Russia will be in Group A as host nation. There can be a maximum of two European sides per group. No other football confederation can have more than one team in a group, so no South American sides will go head-to-head in the group phase for example. As is customary at final draws, a ball will be drawn from the team pots and then another from the group pots to determine the position in which the team in question will play.
Who can England Draw?
With England in pot two, the biggest danger is possessed in pot one where the highest ranking sides lurk. They can be drawn with obvious candidates such as Brazil, Germany & Spain. There can only be two European sides in each group, so if England were to draw a European side from pot one, they would in turn not be able to face Denmark, Sweden, Iceland and Serbia from pots three and four.
England’s worst-case scenario:
Germany, Costa Rica and Nigeria.
Russia, Senegal and Saudi Arabia.