After 872 matches, 2,454 goals scored, and 2.5 years of qualification, the 2018 World Cup draw will take place tomorrow and the world will learn who the final 32 teams will be competing against next summer in Russia. It’s where everyone, with the exception of the hosts Russia, learns when they will play, where they will play, and most importantly, who they will play.
There will certainly be some fanfare before the actual draw, with celebrities and former players on the stage with FIFA officials. The draw will be lead by former England forward Gary Lineker alongside Russian journalist Maria Komandnaya. Soccer legends Laurent Blanc, Cafu, Fabio Cannavaro, Diego Forlan, Diego Maradona and Carles Puyol are among the other celebrities that will assist with the draw. Still, when they start to draw the teams, fans will zero in on the matchups and which groups will be the most difficult. Who will hosts Russia be paired with for the opening match? Who has, on paper, the easiest path to the knockout stage? Which group will be declared the “Group of Death?” We will soon find out.
The 32 teams were assigned into pots for the World Cup draw, with Russia placed in Pot 1. The other 31 teams were separated based on their position in the October 2017 FIFA World Cup Rankings into four pots.
The pots for the World Cup draw, with their October 2017 ranking:
From there, the teams in Pot 1 will be drawn into groups A through H in the first slot, with Russia automatically taking A1 as the hosts. Then, Pot 2 teams will be drawn, then the remaining pots. Teams from the same confederation cannot be drawn into the same group with the exception of UEFA, which can have as many as two teams drawn into the same group.
How to Watch
Time: 10:00am ET, 7:00am PT
Location: State Kremlin Palace, Moscow
Available TV: Fox Sports 1, Telemundo
And, if you’re itching to go through possible group scenarios, there’s a World Cup simulator to keep you occupied until the real draw begins.