Australia, and in deed the whole world, is waiting eagerly to see who will be in their respective country’s group come 18:00 local time on December 2 when the draw for the 2018 FIFA World Cup in Russia will take place. However, the draw for Russia 2018, to be held in Moscow, will be unlike any other with FIFA changing the structure of the draw for the upcoming tournament.
Previously, the top 8 seeds were placed into Pot 1 and then the remaining teams were placed into Pots according to their confederation. This was designed to ensure that a nation from one confederation would not come up against a nation from the same confederation during the group stages.
This was an overly complex system, however, and often resulted in a group, or groups, of death – groups that were full of top-quality teams as opposed to an even spread of ability. 2014 saw the culmination of this structure where there were 9 UEFA teams and therefore one had to be randomly selected to be in the same group as another team from the same confederation.
For Russia 2018 FIFA has, smartly, deciding to place teams into each pot according to their world ranking. The pots, each containing 8 nations, are based on rankings prior to play-off series participated in by both Australia and Peru in order to guarantee qualification for the World Cup. The aim of this new draw is to create a more open and competitive world cup.
The format of the draw is as follows;
Group Format: Each group will have four teams, one selected from each of the 4 seeded pots based upon their FIFA determined world ranking.
Hosts: Russia will be in Group A and play the opening match.
No Clashes: No two teams from the same confederation can be in the same group – except for those from Europe which can have two as there are obviously too many teams. Should a team from the same confederation be drawn into a group, they will be moved to the next available group without a team from that confederation.
Fixture: The position of a nation within in a group is not determined by their pot number. Once the teams have been placed into their groups, their position is randomly generated to determine the fixture set for each nation.
The draw pots are shown below:
Pot 1: Russia, Argentina, Poland, Germany, France, Portugal, Brazil, Belgium
Pot 2: Uruguay, Switzerland, Peru, Colombia, Spain, England, Mexico, Croatia
Pot 3: Denmark, Senegal, Iran, Iceland, Egypt, Costa Rica, Tunisia, Sweden
Pot 4: Panama, Serbia, Nigeria, Saudi Arabia, Japan, Morocco, Australia, South Korea