How will today’s draw work?
Today’s draw will include 29 qualified teams, with the other three spots to consist of a couple of intercontinental play-off slot placeholders and one UEFA play-off slot placeholder, with those nations to be determined later in the year.
The qualified teams will be sorted into four pots of eight, with their FIFA world ranking determining which they enter – joining Qatar in pot one will be the top seven teams, while the nations ranked eight-15 will be in pot 2, and so on. The three play-off slot placeholders will be drawn from pot four.
There will also be eight pots representing the groups, A to H. Each group pot contains four balls with position numbers, ranging from one to four, which correspond to the teams’ respective starting position in the tables and subsequently impact their fixture schedule.
Team pot one will be the first to empty, with Qatar automatically drawn into slot A1. The other sides from pot one will go straight into position one of the remaining groups.
From then on, a ball is drawn from a team pot and followed by one from a group pot, determining that team’s position – for example, the second Nation drawn into Group A could be placed in slot A4. The process continues until each team pot is emptied, with pot four the last to be drawn.
Where possible, no group will contain more than one team from the same qualification zone, with the exception of Europe – so anyone hoping for an Encounter like Brazil v Uruguay will have to wait for the knockout stage.