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Thursday, December 08, 2005

Explaining the World Cup Draw System

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The World Cup draw for the group stages will take place in Leipzig tomorrow. Here we give a quick outline to how the draw process will be.

We will see a first pool of eight seeded teams. The squads, including England, were seeded based on their performance at the 1998 and 2002 World Cups and also their FIFA world ranking in 2003, 2004 and 2005.

As soon as a nation is drawn from pools two, three or four, another draw will then take place to allocate this team their place in the group, which will decide the order of the group fixtures.

If possible, teams from the same confederation will be kept apart, the exception being UEFA-affiliated nations where a maximum of two are permitted in each group. Serbia and Montenegro are in a separate pot, and is going to go into a group containing one of three non-European seeds - Brazil, Argentina or Mexico.

Germany have been placed in Group A. They will kick off the tournament in Munich, before moving to Dortmund and completing their group campaign in Berlin, where the final will be staged.

FIFA spokesman Andreas Herren told us: "The tradition with the opening game played by the world champions goes back to 1974."

"The cause of this change was that in November 2001 the FIFA executive committee decided that the reigning world champions would not any longer qualify for the finals automatically. At the time of putting the match calendar together, the only team sure to qualify was Germany, hence the move to have them play the opener."

Where two squads finish level on points, the first criterion to separate the sides will be the outcome of the group match or matches (if more than two sides) between them. If the match was a draw, goal difference will be the second criterion, then goals scored. In the end, if the teams still cannot be separated, lots will be drawn by the World Cup organising committee.

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