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Old 28-07-2011, 08:32 AM   #1 (permalink)
FarangRed
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World Cup 2014

World Cup 2014 - Everything you need to know in Sportsmail's guide to the draw


The World Cup in South Africa was only last year, but on Saturday, football fans all over the world will turn their focus towards the next tournament, as the qualifying draw for Brazil 2014 is made.

There will be 166 teams from five different regions - Europe, Africa, Asia, CONCACAF and Oceania - going into the hat, all ready to battle it out to join the host nation at footballís biggest tournament between June 12 and July 13, 2014.
England will be among the sides awaiting their fate, so here Sportsmail gives you the lowdown on all you need to know about the European section of the draw.

POT ONE



Spain
Holland
Germany
ENGLAND
Portugal
Italy
Croatia
Norway
Greece



POT TWO


France
Montenegro
Russia
Sweden
Denmark
Slovenia
Turkey
Serbia
Slovakia



POT THREE


Switzerland
Israel
REPUBLIC OF IRELAND
Belgium
Czech Republic
Bosnia-Herzegovina
Belarus
Ukraine
Hungary





POT FOUR


Bulgaria
Romania
Georgia
Lithuania
Albania
SCOTLAND
NORTHERN IRELAND
Austria
Poland


POT FIVE


Armenia
Finland
Estonia
Cyprus
Latvia
Moldova
Macedonia
Azerbaijan
Faroe Islands


POT SIX


WALES
Liechtenstein
Iceland
Kazakhstan
Luxembourg
Malta
Andorra
San Marino





The World Cup is back already? I still havenít recovered Englandís 0-0 with Algeria in South Africa last year! Are you sure you have got your dates correct?
Certain. In fact qualifying has already started in the race to reach Brazil in 2014.

Bad memories: England's goalless draw with Algeria in South Africa last summer

Thatís madness! So how comes I still donít know what group everyone is in?
Relax, it has only started in the regions of Asia and Central America. The draw for the European section as well as other regions is this Saturday in Rio, and will start at 7pm BST.

I see, itís the same old process right?

Correct. There are 32 teams that will take part in the final tournament and Europe will provide 13 of them. There are 53 sides from UEFA vying for those spots, so competition as ever will be fierce.

Thatís a lot of teams, how are FIFA going to organise that chaos?
The teams will initially be allocated to five pots of nine teams and one pot of eight teams based on the FIFA world rankings.
The top nine teams will be placed in pot one, the next best nine teams will be placed in pot two. This goes on until pot six, which will contain the eight lowest ranked teams.

So Jim Rosenthal and two other celebs wonít be drawing random balls from a hat?
Itís a bit more extravagant than that, Europe will have Ronaldo (the Brazilian one) and Santos star man Ganso deciding their fate.

Man in the middle: Brazil legend Ronaldo - the star of the 2002 World Cup - is involved in the draw

The teams will be drawn into nine groups (A-I), eight with six teams, one with five. The teams in pot six are drawn into position six (of groups A to H), the teams in pot five into position five (A-I) and so on.
The draw starts with pot six and ends with pot one. Each pot is completely emptied before moving on to the next.

Groups are filled starting with Group A and ending with Group I (Group H in the case of pot six.)

What pot will England be in? The signs donít look good if we are struggling to beat Switzerland.
Good news my friend. England will be among the top seeds in pot one. This means they will avoid major forces such as Spain, Germany, Holland, Italy and Portugal in their group.

Spain? They won the last tournament, donít they qualify automatically?
Afraid not, which is bad news for the likes of Scotland, Wales and Northern Ireland who will run the risk of being drawn in the same group as the World and European champions.


Hard to beat: Reigning champions Spain will fancy their chances of ruling the world again

That would be a kick in the proverbial for them. Speaking of which, can England be drawn into a group of death?
They sure can. France just missed out on being top seeds (to Greece!) and a worst case scenario could see them, England, Republic of Ireland, Scotland, Finland and Wales in one group.
Even if England avoid France, the threat of Russia, Sweden and Denmark remains.

Wow, that is a lot of banana skins. Is there any chance of a group that is a tiny bit easier?

Whether itís Harry Redknapp, Roy Hodgson, Stuart Pearce or your mate Dave from the Red Lion leading the Three Lions next campaign, they will have no excuses if they fail to qualify from a possible group of Slovakia, Belarus, Albania, Faroe Islands and San Marino.

So how do you book your ticket to Brazil?
Teams in each group will play each other home and away in a round robin format, with the table-toppers sealing a spot in the final tournament.


Luck of the draw: Craig Levein's Scotland are in the fourth pot of teams

Wait a second. If the nine group winners earn qualification for the World Cup, who gets the other four spots from Europe?
The eight best runners-up will go into another draw for the play-offs. They pair up to contest home and away legs with the four winners joining the group winners in marching on to Brazil.

Are the play-offs seeded too?

That has yet to be decided as the draw will take place after the conclusion of the group stage. Expect it to be though if a few pot one teams find themselves in the play-offs.

Are handballs still legal against the Republic of Ireland at the play-off stage?
Now you are just being flippant.


Down and out: A rampant Germany side hammered England 4-1 in the last-16 stage in South Africa

Sorry. Any other side notes for the draw?
Yes, due to fragile political relations between Russia and Georgia, those sides cannot be drawn in the same group. FIFA are yet to announce how they will manage to achieve this, but talks of David Copperfield helping out on stage have yet to be denied.

When do you these games take place? We havenít even finished the qualification process for Euro 2012 yet. Thatís one hell of a fixture congestion.
You have a long wait yet. Europe doesnít kick-off its campaign until September next year, ending the group stage in October 2013. The play-offs will take place a month later.



Read more: World Cup 2014 - European draw guide | Mail Online

 
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Old 28-07-2011, 08:40 AM   #2 (permalink)
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Watched Singapore beat Malaysia 5 - 3 on Saturday in the first leg of that qualifier.

2nd leg in KL is today.

Somehow I don't think either Singapore or Malaysia will make it to the finals in Brazil though.....
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Old 29-07-2011, 10:06 AM   #3 (permalink)
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Despite some Malaysian fans cheating tactics (laser pointers aimed at the Singapore goalies eyes) Singapore went through after a 1-1 draw at KL.
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Old 31-07-2011, 07:45 AM   #4 (permalink)
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England avoided Europe's big-hitters in the qualifying draw for the 2014 World Cup in Brazil.

The draw in Rio de Janeiro saw England in Group H against Montenegro, Ukraine, Poland, Moldova and San Marino.



All smiles: England's £6m-a-year manager Fabio Capello looked content during the draw

Scotland and Wales will have to play each other in Group A with some strong-looking opponents - three from the Balkans - in Croatia, Serbia, Belgium and Macedonia.

Northern Ireland have some long-distance trips in Group F with Portugal, Russia, Israel, Northern Ireland, Azerbaijan and Luxembourg.
The Republic of Ireland are in Group C with Germany, Sweden, Austria, the Faroe Islands and Kazakhstan.

Fenomeno: Ronaldo has a nation on tenterhooks after drawing England out of the pot

The winners of the nine groups qualify automatically and the eight best runners-up play off for the four places remaining.
It is 45 years ago since England won their one and only World Cup - and 91 years since Uruguay triumphed in the very first World Cup final - and although it will be a straightforward task for Fabio Capello's successor it will not be a walkover.
GROUP A

Croatia
Serbia
Belgium
Scotland
Macedonia
Wales


GROUP B


Italy
Denmark
Czech Republic
Bulgaria
Armenia
Malta

GROUP C

Germany
Sweden
Republic of Ireland
Austria
Faroe Islands
Kazakhstan




GROUP D

Holland
Turkey
Hungary
Romania
Estonia
Andorra


GROUP E

Norway
Slovenia
Switzerland
Albania
Cyprus
Iceland


GROUP F

Portugal
Russia
Israel
Northern Ireland
Azerbaijan
Luxembourg




GROUP G

Greece
Slovakia
Bosnia-Herzegovina
Lithuania
Latvia
Liechtenstein


GROUP H

England
Montenegro
Ukraine
Poland
Moldova
San Marino


GROUP I

Spain
France
Belarus
Georgia
Finland



Capello, who is moving on next summer after the conclusion of the Euro 2012 campaign, knows from experience that Montenegro are resilient - they drew 0-0 at Wembley in October in the Euro 2012 qualifier.
All the home nations did avoid the toughest draw, Group I where Spain, France, Belarus, Georgia and Finland will battle it out.


Bright lights: The draw for the European zone gets underway after much fanfare

FIFA president Sepp Blatter had launched the draw insisting the world governing body had confidence that Brazil would overcome delays in preparations.

Blatter said: 'We need the support of the government of Brazil, the state governments, the organising committee and the 190million fans of football that is the population of Brazil.



Mr Popular: FIFA president Sepp Blatter delivers a welcome speech


'It is a matter of trust and confidence and FIFA have trust in Brazil and are confident of its abilities.

'Football is the beating heart of Brazil. It is a multi-cultural country of joy and celebration blessed with natural beauty and a booming economy ranking number seven in the world.'
 
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Old 31-07-2011, 07:58 AM   #5 (permalink)
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Quote:
Originally Posted by FarangRed
Mr Popular: FIFA president Sepp Blatter delivers a welcome speech
Mr Popular? Surely that's a piss-take?

Shame Scotland won't make it again...
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