All eyes will be on the Kremlin today as England learn their fate
The eyes of the football world will fall on the Kremlin today as the draw for the 2018 World Cup is made.
The groups for next summer’s tournament in Russia will be decided as England and co learn their fate.
Gareth Southgate will be there in Moscow, hoping for a more favourable draw than the last one – England were eliminated in the group stages in 2014, bottom of a group that contained Italy, Uruguay and Costa Rica.
Better luck this time? Here’s hoping…
When does the draw take place?
The draw will start at 6pm local time, or 3pm GMT.
It will be hosted by former England striker and current Match of the Day presenter Gary Lineker and Russian sports journalist Maria Komandnaya.
“As a player, I was fortunate enough to take part in the World Cup finals on two occasions,” Lineker told Fifa.com. “It is quite special to be involved in yet another tournament now on the stage, unveiling the results of the draw.
“I have been on the other side, waiting to find out my opponents, and I know how exciting this occasion is.”
What TV channel will show it?
The draw will be screened live on Sky Sports and ITV. You can also live stream via the BBC website.
Where does it take place?
In Moscow’s State Kremlin Palace, which is frequently used as a concert hall.
According to a Fifa spokesman: “This prestigious entertainment venue with a capacity of 6,000 spectators has hosted many international and locally renowned artists in the past, as well as traditional ballets and operas.”
How does the draw work?
A total of 32 teams will feature at the World Cup, 31 of them coming through the qualifying campaign and Russia making it as host nation.
Those 32 teams will be split into four pots based on their current Fifa world rankings. Pot 1 will contain Russia and the highest-ranked seven teams. Pot 2 will feature the next best eight teams, and so on for Pots 3 and 4.
The draw will divide the 32 teams into eight groups of four from A to H. Each group will play three matches, before the top two countries advance to the second round.
Russia will be in Group A as host nation.
What’s the line-up of the pots?
Pot 1: Russia (hosts), Germany, Brazil, Portugal, Argentina, Belgium, Poland, France
Pot 2: Spain, Peru, Switzerland, England, Colombia, Uruguay, Mexico, Croatia
Pot 3: Denmark, Iceland, Costa Rica, Sweden, Tunisia, Egypt, Senegal, Iran
Pot 4: Serbia, Nigeria, Australia, Japan, Morocco, Panama, South Korea, Saudi Arabia
What’s the worst possible draw for England?
Based on the October FIFA rankings it would be Germany, Costa Rica and Nigeria. Other than that, Brazil, Egypt and Nigeria looks difficult. And the less said about Iceland the better.
And the best draw?
Russia are the weakest team in Pot 1, though home advantage could make a difference. Poland, Tunisia and Panama is a more palatable draw.
When does the tournament take place?
The action in Russia kicks off on June 14, with the final taking place on July 15.