FIFA have announced the make-up of the four pots that will be used for Friday’s World Cup draw. The draw will be organised so that there will be no more than two European teams in any group of four countries, and all the South American teams will be kept apart. As was known before the announcement, pot one consists of hosts Brazil along with the seven top-ranked teams – Belgium, Germany, Spain, Switzerland, Argentina, Colombia and Uruguay.
However, while it was widely expected that France might join the remaining South American and African nations to form another pot of eight, they have actually been placed in a group of nine with the other European qualifiers in pot four.
Pot two will contain Algeria, Cameroon, Ivory Coast, Ghana, Nigeria, Chile and Ecuador, while pot three is made up of Australia, Iran, Japan, South Korea, Costa Rica, Honduras, Mexico and the United States.
To ensure that all pots contain eight teams, one ball will be drawn from pot four at the beginning of the draw and placed into pot two.
As two nations from the same confederation are not permitted to be in the same group – with the exception of UEFA countries – the European team drawn from pot four in the pre-draw will immediately be assigned one of the four South American seeds, with the remaining three going back into the draw.
Along with France, pot four consists of Bosnia-Herzegovina, Croatia, England, Greece, Italy, Netherlands, Portugal and Russia.
DRAW PROCEDURES (from FIFA.com)
1.In order to create an even flow to the draw as Pots 1-4 are emptied, we begin by drawing one ball from Pot 4 (containing a European team) and placing it into Pot 2 to achieve an equal balance of eight teams in each pot
2.Pot 1 will then be emptied beginning with Brazil; teams will be allocated to position 1 of Groups A through H sequentially
3.With the addition of the European team to Pot 2, Pot 2 will contain teams from three different qualification zones. With teams from three zones in the same pot, we increase the risk of inadvertently violating the principle of geographic separation. In order to ensure we do not mistakenly end up with three European teams in the same Group, the following mechanism will be implemented:
– The four seeded South American teams will be placed in an ancillary pot – Pot X
– One of the four teams will be drawn
– The Group of the South American which is drawn will determine the Group which the European team from Pot 2 will join Final Draw Procedures
4.Pot 2 will then be emptied, beginning with the European ball:
– The European team will join Group of South American team drawn from Pot X
– The remaining teams will be allocated to Groups A through H sequentially
(Note: Groups may be skipped to respect principle of geographic separation; e.g. Chile and Ecuador may not be drawn into Groups with seeded South American teams)
5.Pots 3 and 4 will then be emptied in order
6.The positions within Groups A through H will be drawn for all teams of Pots 2, 3 and 4.