Top Stories

FIFA Organizing Committee approves new World Cup draw procedure

The Organizing Committee for FIFA Competitions has approved a new procedure for the 2018 World Cup draw.

Instead of the 32 teams being grouped by confederation, all 32 teams will be sorted into four pots of eight teams based on the October 2017 FIFA rankings. The hosts, Russia, and the top seven of the qualified nations will form the first pot. The next eight teams in the rankings will be in pot two, and so on.

The principles of the draw will still remain as they had in the past. No confederation will be allowed more than one team in a group, except for UEFA, which can have up to two. There will still be eight groups of four, labeled A through H.

The draw will take place in Moscow on December 1.


  1. suppose fifa has ranked the usa higher than they should be in reality (perhaps pot #2 instead of pot #4) then the usa will get to play in a group with a true #1, usa is false #2 and a real #3 and a real #4. the top two teams advance, so the first one is probably the true #1 and you basically have three teams of similar real strength competing for the other spot. not a group of death. a group of a clear winner and three weak teams battling at out.

  2. It doesn’t really matter to the US. We will be in a group with 2 Euros – and a country from South America (Colombia 1990) , Asia (1998 -Iran, 2002 – SK) or Africa (06 – Ghana, 2010 Algeria, 2014 Ghana).

    Hopefully 2018 will be the World Cup where the US performs well in Europe. We haven’t in the past. 1990 – Italy – bottom of the group 0 points. 1998 – France – bottom of the group 0 points. 2006 – Germany – bottom of the group 1 point.

  3. It increases the chance that we will play an Asian team. And that is good news. Would like to see how this breaks down for the future 64 team format.

  4. By eliminating the confederation ranking or pooling, the chances the US will draw lower seeded teams is greatly enhanced. Conversely, it also increases the chances the US will play more SA teams. While SA teams are usually ranked above the US, the US’s record within the WC and in friendlies is actually not bad. It also increases the chance of playing more African teams.

    All in all, I would say the new draw is not completely neutral for all, and actually gives the US a slight advantage.

    • I’m sure there will still be a Group Of Death. Given how poorly the FIFA rankings reflect reality, an underrated team from 2 of the lower 3 pots along with a top seed can very easily produce a very scary GoD. Imagine Spain (currently #11, pot 2) and Italy (#17, pot 3) getting drawn with Brazil or Argentina. That’s an extreme example, but I’m sure there will be something like that.

    • the phrase “group of death” is so loved by TV commentators I don’t believe it will ever die. This doesn’t make a huge change in the reality of the groups either since they are rightly keeping confederations from being grouped together. Pot 1 and 2 will both have very strong teams and there should be a few decent teams in 3 and 4 also. This is a slight improvement on the current system though.


Leave a Comment