World Cup 2018 draw: All you need to know

While the USA's elimination from the 2018 World Cup certainly killed the buzz on the World Cup draw in much of the U.S. soccer community, the show will go on.

The draw will be held Friday at Moscow's 6,000-seat State Kremlin Palace. The one-hour show begins at 6 p.m. local time (10 a.m. ET).

U.S. coverage. Rights-holder Fox Sports 1 and Telemundo will have live coverage. FS1's pre-draw coverage begins at 9:30 a.m. ET. Andres Cantor will host Telemundo's coverage from Moscow, which also begins at 9:30 a.m. ET. Both networks will also have post-draw specials beginning at 11 a.m. ET. ESPN2 will have an ESPN FC special at noon ET.

Draw hosts. Former England star Gary Lineker, the host of BBC's Match of the Day, and Russian Maria Komandnaya, who worked with Fox Sports on its Confederations Cup coverage, will host the draw.

Former players who will assist in the draw include Laurent Blanc (France), Gordon Banks (England), Cafu (Brazil), Fabio Cannavaro (Italy), Carles Puyol (Spain), Diego Forlan (Uruguay) and Diego Maradona (Argentina) representing seven of the nations that have won the World Cup and Russian Nikita Simonyan.

Draw pots. At past draws, there has been a pot of seeded teams and three other pots of teams filled geographically. (For the 2014 World Cup draw, the USA was placed in a pot with teams from Concacaf and Asia.)

For the 2018 World Cup draw, teams have been distributed through the four pots in order of their place in the October FIFA rankings. The one exception: Host Russia -- the lowest ranking of the 32 teams -- is in Pot 1 with the top seven seeded teams.

Pot 1: Russia (65), Germany (1), Brazil (2), Portugal (3), Argentina (4), Belgium (5), Poland (6), France (7).
Pot 2: Spain (8), Peru (10), Switzerland (11), England (12), Colombia (13), Mexico (16), Uruguay (17), Croatia (18).
Pot 3: Denmark (19), Iceland (21), Costa Rica (22), Sweden (25), Tunisia (28), Egypt (30), Senegal (32), Iran (34).
Pot 4: Serbia (38), Nigeria (41), Australia (43), Japan (44), Morocco (48), Panama (49), South Korea (62), Saudi Arabia (63).

Draw rules. No more than two European teams can be placed in one group and teams from other confederations can't be placed in a group with a team from their own confederation.

This will be the confusing part: After teams are drawn in the Pot 1, teams drawn from the other pots won't automatically be placed in the group in the order they are picked. To avoid geographic conflicts -- or conflicts of teams yet to be picked -- teams may skip groups and be placed the next non-conflicting group down the line.

Group of Death? Based on the FIFA rankings and draw rules, the toughest group would be Brazil, Spain, Denmark and Nigeria.



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