If there was ever a time that truly signaled that eve of a World Cup, it is the draw the puts the 32 teams in eight groups of four.
Granted, we do not know some teams. There are still three spots up for grabs at Qatar in November. However, FIFA will draw these playoff teams as if they are one team. That way, each country will know its opposition in the group stage. Plus, fans can start to map out the path to glory.
The format of the draw is relatively simple. There are four pots of teams divided by FIFA World Ranking, more or less. The table below has the pots and what teams are included. Each group will have one team from Pot 1, Pot 2, Pot 3 and Pot 4. Qatar, as the host, is already placed as the Pot 1 side in Group A.
|Pot 1||Pot 2||Pot 3||Pot 4|
|Spain||Switzerland||Poland||Wales OR Scotland / Ukraine|
|England||The United States||South Korea||Costa Rica OR New Zealand|
|Portugal||Croatia||Tunisia||Peru OR Australia / United Arab Emirates|
Be sure to follow along with our updates as the draw unfolds. Also, comment your reactions and opinions to where your favorite nations and players end up. This page will update with every major moment from throughout the draw, so be sure to comment with your thoughts.
Some disagreements on the FOX desk regarding the USMNT group, which includes England, Iran and one of Scotland, Wales and Ukraine.
None of those are easy opponents, and storylines abound. The U.S. opens its competition against one of Scotland, Wales and Ukraine on the opening matchday, which could prove to be a challenge. This is especially true considering the entire world will be behind Ukraine.
Looking to bring on Weston McKennie to discuss the USMNT’s draw in Group B, audio issues force the interview to end prematurely and jump to commercial.
Hopefully FOX can resolve the audio issues with McKennie’s interview, who is currently in Italy.
The groups for the World Cup are finalized. In the opening matchday, the first team plays the second team, while the third team plays the fourth team.
Four sides from four federations, including the hosts, the AFCON 2021 champions and one of the surprise teams from CONMEBOL. The Netherlands also returns to play after missing out on 2018.
Familiar foes for the United States when it comes to World Cup play. England was part of the USMNT group in 2010, while Iran knocked the Americans out in 1998. However, the United States does not know who it plays against in the opening game.
A fairly balanced group, what could be Lionel Messi’s final World Cup comes against a strong Mexico side and Poland, which has perhaps the best striker in the world, Robert Lewandowski.
The defending champions, France, are the clear favorites out of this group. However, Denmark reached the Euro 2020 semifinals, and qualifying out of Africa is no easy feat for any country, including Tunisia.
Any group that had Germany as its Pot 2 team was going to be a tough group. However, Spain and Japan are clearly no slouches. At the same time, Costa Rica is one of the best sides from North America. After the draw, this is the most challenging group.
Group F is another contender for one of the more challenging groups at the World Cup. Belgium is the second-best team in the world according to the FIFA World Rankings, while Croatia reached the World Cup Final four years ago. Canada finished atop the CONCACAF World Cup Qualifying picture and Morocco quietly has one of the best sides in Africa.
Another balanced group, with the exception of the team on top of the FIFA World Rankings, Brazil.
This group features some strong teams as well, and there is no clear cut team to escape from this group. Portugal and Uruguay played each other in the round of 16 in Russia 2018, with Uruguay advancing.
The last set of teams come from Pot 4, which features the playoffs yet to come.
Again, the same constraints still apply in regards to teams from the same federation.
We also finalize the opening matchday fixtures. The first game at this World Cup comes between Qatar (A1) and Ecuador (A2).
For fans of the USMNT, it remains unclear who the side plays in its first game. It is a European side, but one that is yet to be decided.
- Group A: Qatar, the Netherlands, Senegal, Ecuador
- Group B: England, the United States of America, Iran, European Playoff (Wales OR Scotland / Ukraine)
- Group C: Argentina, Mexico, Poland, Saudi Arabia
- Group D: France, Denmark, Tunisia, Inter-Continental Playoff 1 (Peru OR Australia / UAE)
- Group E: Spain, Germany, Japan, Inter-Continental Playoff 2 (Costa Rica OR New Zealand)
- Group F: Belgium, Croatia, Morocco, Canada
- Group G: Brazil, Switzerland, Serbia, Cameroon
- Group H: Portugal, Uruguay, South Korea, Ghana
Over halfway done with the World Cup draw, Pot 3 is up next.
The constraints regarding no two teams from the same confederation remains the same.
While the second pot of teams did not produce any opening-matchday fixtures, those start to come to fruition in round three. For example, Senegal (A3) will play the Netherlands (A4) in matchday 1, while England (B1) will play Iran (B2) for their opening fixtures.
- Group A: Qatar, the Netherlands, Senegal
- Group B: England, the United States of America, Iran
- Group C: Argentina, Mexico, Poland
- Group D: France, Denmark, Tunisia
- Group E: Spain, Germany, Japan
- Group F: Belgium, Croatia, Morocco
- Group G: Brazil, Switzerland, Serbia
- Group H: Portugal, Uruguay, South Korea
We can also see the toughest groups start to take shape, even with three teams. Group E features three strong teams that did not make it past the round of 16 in Russia 2018.
The teams from Pot 2 are also strong.
In this round, we also begin to see the order of the teams. Rather than the teams from Pot 2 being the second team in the group, Pot 2 sides could be the second, third or fourth teams in the group.
It is totally random, and it is simply meant to mix up the scheduling of games throughout the World Cup.
There can be no teams from the same federation in the same group, with the exception of Europe. There can be no more than two European teams in one group.
- Group A: Qatar, the Netherlands
- Group B: England, the United States of America
- Group C: Argentina, Mexico
- Group D: France, Denmark
- Group E: Spain, Germany
- Group F: Belgium, Croatia
- Group G: Brazil, Switzerland
- Group H: Portugal, Uruguay
— World Soccer Talk (@worldsoccertalk) April 1, 2022
Qatar, as hosts get automatically placed in group A. The other groups are as follows:
- Group A: Qatar
- Group B: England
- Group C: Argentina
- Group D: France
- Group E: Spain
- Group F: Belgium
- Group G: Brazil
- Group H: Portugal
Surely a formality for the draw, but the fact that some of the international soccer players have to pick up a ball that reads A1, B1, C1 and so on seems unnecessary for the proceedings.
At least Cafu’s smile makes everything nice and pleasant while he picks up the teams from Pot 1.
About 45 minutes after the program started, the World Cup draw is underway. FIFA explains the format of the draw and where each team sits in the pots
Carli Lloyd, the two-time World Cup Champion with the United States Women’s National Team, is among the team to help with the FIFA World Cup draw. She mentions the qualification of the USMNT to this year’s World Cup in her introduction speech.
Lloyd is accompanied by international soccer legends Cafu, J.J. Okocha, Lothar Matthaus, Ali Daei, Adel Ahmed Malalla, Tim Cahill, Bora Milutinović and Rabah Madjer.
Didier Deschamps, the manager of France, has the honor of bringing out the World Cup trophy. Joined by Deschamps is a French boy who made stories for celebrating France’s triumph in 2018.
However, Didier Deschamps, answering Chowdhury’s questions in French, does not have a translator to clarify his answers for the English-language audience.
A common thread for the World Cup is to have people speak in their native language. For example, the Amir of the State of Qatar spoke in Arabic.
However, FOX does not have a translator, meaning that English-language fans that do not speak Arabic do not know what the leader of Qatar is talking about. Meanwhile, Telemundo does have a translator to ensure its viewers get the full coverage they desire.
Prior to welcoming the Amir of the State of Qatar, President Infantino mentions that he wants the conflicts around the world to stop. Undoubtedly, he is referring to the Russian invasion of Ukraine.
Infantino says he wants this to be the World Cup of unity. However, Russia has already been banned from the World Cup after invasion of Ukraine.
FIFA President Gianni Infantino steps on to the stage for the first time in the World Cup draw to welcome everybody to the FIFA World Cup draw.
Infantino says this will be the best World Cup ever, despite the rocky start in regards to building stadiums and the myriad of other controversies surrounding the tournament.
Idris Elba and Reshmin Chowdhury come on to the stage as the hosts of the World Cup draw. The duo addresses the hosts and FIFA, while also mentioning the ball, Al Rihla. Finally, Elba and Chowdhury introduce the first song on the Qatar 2022 soundtrack.
FOX steps away from the FIFA-produced festivities to talk about the mindset of USMNT manager Gregg Berhalter. These festivities precede an Egyptian singer addressing the dignitaries.
On the bright side, FOX is keeping fans knowledgeable in terms of what is happening and how the actual draw is still to come. All the while, Rob Stone, Maurice Edu and Alexi Lalas talk about the importance of being put in not only a group with manageable opponents, but the timing of it all.
We are underway from Doha for the FIFA World Cup draw. The opening of the program features some animated feature about the World Cup mascot.
One noticeable absentee throughout FOX’s coverage of the World Cup is addressing the human rights violations of the host country. Not wanting to upset FIFA, FS1’s pre-draw coverage instead shows Alexi Lalas and Stu Holden exploring the deserts of the area.
The bit certainly brings some joy and life to the area, even if it is not soccer content. However, the lack of coverage on the human rights violations and instead showing how much of a tourist destination is something to be noted.
One of the most noticeable things for the English-language coverage of the World Cup draw is the fact that FS1’s desk is live from a studio. Meanwhile, Telemundo has a desk set up live from the Doha Exhibition and Convention Center. Of course, FS1 has a strong presence of USMNT coverage, including an interview with Gregg Berhalter.
— World Soccer Talk (@worldsoccertalk) April 1, 2022
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