With qualification soon to be over, preparations are well underway in Russia for a crucial date in the build-up to next summer’s tournament
Time is ticking down on qualification for the 2018 World Cup in Russia, with the draw for the tournament now just months away.
As the field of potential teams heading to next summer’s competition continues to thin, preparations are well underway in Moscow for the event that will determine who faces who in the group stage.
It can be a complicated process with all of the pots, seeds and various other rules and regulations involved, but we have all the details you need to know.
WHEN IS THE WORLD CUP DRAW?
The draw for the group stage of the 2018 World Cup will take place on Friday, December 1 at the State Kremlin Palace inside the Moscow Kremlin.
The State Kremlin Palace was originally built on the orders of Nikita Khrushchev for Communist Party meetings, but since the fall of the Soviet Union it has become a concert hall.
The Kremlin as a whole is a fortified complex in Moscow that includes the residence of Vladimir Putin, the President of the Russian Federation.
A FIFA spokesperson told the Press Association: “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.”
HOW CAN I WATCH THE WORLD CUP DRAW?
The World Cup draw will be available to watch live on television and is also likely to be streamed on FIFA.com.
Exact broadcasting details have not yet been confirmed, but it is probable that most tournament rights holders will show the draw live. In the UK, that is both the BBC and ITV and in the US, Fox have the rights in English and Telemundo in Spanish.
HOW DOES THE WORLD CUP DRAW WORK?
The exact draw procedures will not be confirmed until qualification is complete and we have a full lineup of teams.
For the 2014 World Cup, the seven highest-ranked teams according to the FIFA World Rankings plus hosts Brazil were placed in Pot One as ‘seeded’ teams. This is likely to be the case again for 2018, with one seeded team in each of the eight groups.
The rest of the teams were then split up geographically. The remaining African and South American teams went into Pot Two, the Asian and North American teams in Pot Three and the European teams in Pot Four.
The pots were then emptied in order starting with Pot Two and the groups filled sequentially, from A through H, apart from when a group was skipped to avoid two teams from the same qualification zone being put together.
The only exception to that was that five groups contained two European teams due to the larger number of UEFA countries participating.
Pot One teams were automatically assigned position ‘one’ in the groups but the other teams were given position numbers at random, with those numbers used to determine the order of fixtures.
WHICH TEAMS HAVE QUALIFIED FOR THE WORLD CUP?
The full list of teams that have qualified for the World Cup finals so far is below. For a full continent-by-continent breakdown, check out our comprehensive guide to the qualification spots.