Who, what, when and where? – All you need to know about the 2018 World Cup draw
Before we get too excited about the World Cup, we need to have the draw. But when is it and which teams are involved? We have the answers.
Following the final World Cup qualification play-offs, we now know precisely which 32 team will be heading to Russia for the greatest sporting festival on Earth next year.
But, there is still plenty to be decided before the action gets under way on June 14, with everyone still in the dark as to which teams are playing each other and when.
Thankfully, we do not have to wait much longer for light to be shed on those finer details, with the World Cup draw – undoubtedly set to be a glitzy and glamourous event – on the horizon.
Below we give you the lowdown on the draw…
When and where is the draw?
Football dignitaries and international media will converge on the State Kremlin Palace in Moscow on Friday December 1 for the eagerly anticipated draw.
The ceremony is due to kick-off at 15:00 GMT (18:00 local time), with a host of familiar faces from the world of football set to be involved.
It will be televised across the world, while FIFA will follow the action closely with a live blog.
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.
Each group will have one team from each pot, but there will be restrictions in terms of teams from the same confederations.
There can be no more than two European nations in any one group, while there may only be a single country from each of the other confederations.
Former England striker Gary Lineker will be joined by Russian broadcast journalist Maria Komandnaya as presenters, while trophy bearer Mirolsav Klose, Laurent Blanc, Cafu, Fabio Cannavaro, Diego Forlan and several other former stars will be assisting the draw.
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?
As previously mentioned, the World Cup gets started on June 14 at the Luzhniki Stadium in Moscow and will see hosts Russia face a team from pot two.
The group stage will run for exactly two weeks, with the knockout phase then beginning on June 30, two days after the final Group H contests.
The final will take place on July 15, with the Luzhniki the setting once again.