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Brazil 2014: World Cup draw explained

Updated: Friday, 06 Dec 2013 14:06 | Comments

A view of Brazuca - the ball that will be used at next summer's tournament -  and the FIFA World Cup trophy at the Maracana
A view of Brazuca - the ball that will be used at next summer's tournament - and the FIFA World Cup trophy at the Maracana

The process of deciding who plays who at next year's World Cup is a complex one, so let's try and simplify it ahead of today's draw in Costa do Sauipe in the Brazilian state of Bahia.

The 32 qualified countries will be split into four pots, and drawn into eight groups each containing four teams.

Pot One is the top seeds: Brazil, Argentina, Colombia, Uruguay, Spain, Germany, Belgium and Switzerland.

Pot Two contains the unseeded South American countries and the qualifiers from Africa: Algeria, Cameroon, Chile, Ivory Coast, Ecuador, Ghana and Nigeria.

Pot Three is the teams from North and Central America plus Asia: Australia, Costa Rica, Honduras, Iran, Japan, South Korea, Mexico, United States.

Pot Four contains the nine unseeded European teams: Bosnia-Herzegovina, Croatia, England, France, Greece, Italy, Holland, Portugal, Russia.

At the start of the draw, one European team from Pot Four will be selected at random and added to Pot Two to make it eight countries in each pot.

The four seeded South American teams will be put into a temporary pot (Pot X) and the European team from Pot Two will be drawn in the same group as one of them.

The draw will then proceed with Pot One being emptied and the teams allocated to position one in the Groups A-H in turn.

Pots Two, Three and Four will then be emptied in order but no South American teams can be in the same group, and a maximum of two European teams are permitted per group.

Teams from Pots Two, Three and Four will have their positions in the group drawn randomly. 

Live coverage of the draw for the FIFA World Cup 2014 from 1635 on RTÉ Two and RTÉ.ie (RoI only).

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