The FIFA World Cup Final Draw is taking place this Friday at the State Kremlin Palace in Moscow to decide the groups for the Russia 2018 tournament next year, which the country will host for the first time.
What is it?
It’s here. The draw for the 2018 World Cup – the flagship international football event, 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.
When and where is it?
The 2018 World Cup draw will take place in Russia’s capital city of Moscow this afternoon at the State Kremlin Palace, which is frequently used as a concert hall.
According to a Fifa spokesman: “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.”
What time will it start?
It will start at 6pm local time, or 3pm GMT. You can follow all the build-up and live coverage of the event itself right here.
How can I watch the draw?
The draw is the final major event before the Russia 2018 World Cup, which will be held in 12 stadiums across 11 host cities from June 14 to July 15 next season. It will decide which groups the 32 participants will be allocated, determining their opponents and in which cities their matches will be played.
Here, RT Sport gives you a rundown of the draw criteria, taking you through the need-to-know basics and making sure you’re clued up ahead of the event.
The 32 participants have been divided into four team pots of eight teams. Teams are allocated to pots based on FIFA rankings published on November 23, running from highest to lowest; Pot 1 contains the highest ranked teams, and Pot 4 contains the lowest ranked teams, with the exception of Russia (ranked 65th), who are the host country and are automatically placed in Pot 1, Group A.
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, Korea Republic, Saudi Arabia
Each pot will be emptied in its entirety. Pot 1 will be emptied, then Pot 2, Pot 3, and Pot 4, with each team populating each group alphabetically from Group A through to Group H. All Pot 1 teams will occupy the number 1 position in each group and each group will be populated alphabetically from Group A to Group H.
For example, Russia automatically occupy number 1 position in Group A. Should Belgium the be drawn next, they would occupy number 1 position in Group B. Should Brazil be drawn next, they would occupy number 1 position in Group C, and that would carry on through to Group H.