The scene is all set for all 32 participating member associations to learn their paths to possible glory with the draw for the FIFA World Cup taking place on 1 December (18:00 local time) in Moscow’s State Kremlin Palace.
The October 2017 edition of the FIFA/Coca-Cola World Ranking has been used to allocate all qualified teams to the four pots in descending order, with the best seven teams along with hosts Russia in pot 1.
The draw sequence will start with pot 1 and end with pot 4. Each pot will be completely emptied before moving on to the next. As per the usual standard FIFA procedure, a ball from a team pot will be drawn, followed by a ball from one of the group pots, thus determining the position in which the respective team will play.
In pot 1, Russia will be a red ball and has already been pre-assigned the position of A1 as the host country, allowing it to play in the opening game on 14 June. Ironically Russia is the lowest ranked team playing in the World Cup.
The remaining seven teams in pot 1 will automatically be drawn into position 1 of each group (B to H), whereas teams in pots 2, 3 and 4 will be drawn into positions randomly in their groups.
FIFA’s general principle is also to ensure that no group has more than one team from the same qualification zone drawn into it. This is applicable to all zones except Europe, which is represented by 14 teams. Each group must have at least one but no more than two European teams drawn into it. As such, six out of the eight groups will feature two European teams.
The distribution of the teams into the groups according to the geographic separation principle will be monitored by a system designed to take all parameters into account, which means that groups may be skipped. For example, Peru, Colombia and Uruguay, which are in pot 2, will not be drawn into the same group with Brazil or Argentina, which are in pot one. The same principle will apply to the teams from the other confederations with the exception of UEFA.