The 2018 FIFA World Cup finals draw will be held on Friday at Moscow’s State Kremlin Palace concert hall from 4pm Nigerian time. Here are some of the key facts about the draw…
World Cup pots
Pot 1 Pot 2 Pot 3 Pot 4
Russia Spain Denmark Serbia
Germany Peru Iceland Nigeria
Brazil Switzerland Costa Rica Australia
Portugal England Sweden Japan
Argentina Colombia Tunisia Morocco
Belgium Mexico Egypt Panama
Poland Uruguay Senegal South Korea
France Croatia Iran Saudi Arabia
The 2018 FIFA World Cup draw will be hosted by former England striker Gary Lineker and Russian sports journalist Maria Komandnaya.
The hosts will be assisted by representatives from each of the eight nations to have won the World Cup. They are Laurent Blanc (France), Gordon Banks (England), Cafu (Brazil), Fabio Cannavaro (Italy), Diego Forlan (Uruguay), Diego Maradona (Argentina), Carles Puyol (Spain) and Miroslav Klose (Germany) among others.
Russia, as the host country, along with Germany, Brazil, Portugal, Argentina, Belgium, Poland and France are the highest-ranked teams in the FIFA/Coca-Cola World Ranking in October 2017.
Procedures for final draw
The four pots will be emptied by drawing the eight teams they each contain one by one and placing them in the eight groups of four teams (Groups A to H). Hosts Russia will occupy the top position in Group A, while the seven other seeds will occupy the top spots in Groups B to H.
The positions of all the other teams (from pots 2, 3 and 4) will be decided when they are drawn.
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.
With the exception of UEFA, which has more qualifiers (14) than there are groups (8), no teams from the same confederation can be drawn in the same group.
World Cup Newcomers
Panama and Iceland will be making their debut at the 2018 FIFA World Cup in Russia. Central American nation Panama qualified for their first World Cup by defeating Costa Rica 2-1 in their final group game to qualify for first ever World Cup tournament. President Juan Carlos Varela declared a national holiday following their victory while Iceland sealed a place in Russia with a 2-0 win over Kosovo in Reykjavik.
Big time losers
Four-time World Champions Italy are the biggest team missing out on the World Cup party in Russia. The Azzuri lost 1-0 on aggregate to Sweden in the European playo-ffs. Also, the Netherlands failed to qualify, missing out on the play-off spot to Sweden with an inferior goal difference from Group A of the European qualifiers.
In the CONCACAF region, the United States were eliminated from the race after they suffered a shock 2-1 defeat by Trinidad & Tobago. It is the first time since 1986 that they will not compete at a World Cup.
The Ivory Coast, Cameroon and Ghana are the biggest casualties from Africa to miss out while in South America, Chile missed out on the final play-off spot on goal difference to Peru.
Russia 2018 World Cup Stadiums
Twelve stadiums will be in used for the 2018 Russia FIFA World Cup. These are Luzhniki Stadium, Spartak Stadium, Kazan Arena, Zenit Arena, Fisht Olympic Stadium, Rostov Stadium, Central Stadium. Others are Ekaterinburg Arena, Cosmos Arena, Nizhny Novgorod Stadium, Samara Arena and the Mordovia Arena.
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