World Cup group stage draw

The draw for the group stages of the 2018 World Cup takes place in the Kremlin in Moscow

RuaidhrĂ­ Croke Fri, Dec 1
 
LIVE: World Cup group stage draw

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  • 14:34

    Good afternoon and welcome to The Irish Times liveblog of the draw for the 2018 World Cup, live from the Kremlin in Moscow! I'm Ruaidhrí Croke and I'll be with you for the duration of the inevitable endless, banter-filled build-up before some balls are actually drawn out of a hat and we have the makings of some groups. To the pots!

    Pot 1: Russia (hosts, Group A), Germany, Brazil, Portugal, Argentina, Belgium, Poland, France.

    Pot 2: Spain, Switzerland, England, Colombia, Mexico, Uruguay, Croatia, Peru.

    Pot 3: Iceland, Costa Rica, Sweden, Tunisia, Egypt, Senegal, Iran, Denmark.

    Pot 4: Nigeria, Australia, Japan, Morocco, Panama, South Korea, Saudi Arabia, Serbia.

    For full details on how the draw works you can read our explainer here: World Cup draw: All you need to know.

  • 14:48

    Legends of the game such as Diego Maradona, Pele, Ronaldo, Ronaldinho, Cafu, Marcel Desailly, Fabio Cannavaro, Peter Schmeichel, Miroslav Klose, Laurent Blanc, Lothar Matthaeus, Samuel Eto'o and, of course, Gareth Southgate are taking their seats at the Kremlin where the snow continues to fall outside on a bitterly cold Russian winter's day in Moscow.  

    So who can get who? Well, no two teams from the same confederation can be drawn together, with the exception of Uefa where a max of two teams can be in the same group. With Fifa rankings determining the pots this year, as opposed to geographical configurations previously, we have the potential for some proper groups of death as well as some groups of ... life? Sounds about right. Anyway, below you can have a look at what we think is the toughest and the easiest possible groups that could be thrown up by the draw.

    World Cup draw: Best and worst possible groups

    And if, for whatever reason, you're still planning to go to Russia, you can check out our travel guide below.

    World Cup travel guide: All you need to know

  • 14:50
  • 14:51
    Safe to say there are a few half-decent footballers in the photo below.
  • 14:55

    Just under 10 minutes now until draw hosts Gary Lineker and  Maria Komandnaya (a "football-mad presenter from Russia who supports Manchester United", I have reliably read on the internet) arrive on stage to start proceedings.

    Along the way they will be assisted by the likes of Miroslave Klose,  Nikita Simonyan, Gordon Banks, the Diego duo of Maradona and Forlan, Laurent Blanc, Cafu, Fabio Cannavaro and Carlos Puyol.

    It's all very exciting.

  • 15:02

    WE ARE LIVE AT THE KREMLIN!

    Currently we're being welcomed to Russia by two presenters talking Russia with a very awkward English voiceover.  

    And now we will have speeches from Vladimir Putin and Gianni Infantino! This really is what football is all about.

  • 15:10

    Gianni Infantino tells us that fans will "find that Russia is a welcoming country and a warm country."

    It's snowing outside as he speaks. As for welcoming? Well...

  • 15:15

    It's all gone a bit Eurovision now.

    First there was a 'Welcome to Russia' promotional video and now we have famous Russian artist Alsou  giving us a very Eurovision-like performance on stage.

    I suppose, at least if it was Eurovision Ireland would be there.

  • 15:17

    Well, well, well. Some further research on Alsou has show that she did, in fact, perform at Eurovision.

    It was in the year 2000 when she was just 16 and she finished second to  the Olsen Brothers’ classic Fly on the Wings of Love.

    The Irish entry that year? Eamonn Toal with Milennium of Love, of course. How could you forget?  

  • 15:21

    We thought we were out the other side.

    We were wrong.  

    Now we have some Russian ballet!

    It's no Riverdance anyway.

  • 15:24

    The ballet is over.  

    One more Fifa promotional video and we might, we just might, have a draw on our hands.

  • 15:27
    The various footballing legends are on stage and we are just about ready to go.
  • 15:29

    And now we have Gary Lineker and  Maria Komandnaya on the stage. We are ready to go!

    Contain. Your. Excitement.

  • 15:30

    A reminder of the pots.

    Pot 1: Russia (hosts, Group A), Germany, Brazil, Portugal, Argentina, Belgium, Poland, France.

    Pot 2: Spain, Switzerland, England, Colombia, Mexico, Uruguay, Croatia, Peru.

    Pot 3: Iceland, Costa Rica, Sweden, Tunisia, Egypt, Senegal, Iran, Denmark.

    Pot 4: Nigeria, Australia, Japan, Morocco, Panama, South Korea, Saudi Arabia, Serbia.

  • 15:33

    Group A: Russia

    Group B:

    Group C:

    Group D:

    Group E:

    Group F:

    Group G:

    Group H:

     

  • 15:33

    Group A: Russia

    Group B: Portugal

    Group C:

    Group D:

    Group E:

    Group F:

    Group G:

    Group H:

  • 15:34

    Group A: Russia

    Group B: Portugal

    Group C: France

    Group D:

    Group E:

    Group F:

    Group G:

    Group H:

  • 15:34

    Group A: Russia

    Group B: Portugal

    Group C: France

    Group D: Argentina

    Group E:

    Group F:

    Group G:

    Group H:

  • 15:35

    Group A: Russia

    Group B: Portugal

    Group C: France

    Group D: Argentina

    Group E: Brazil

    Group F:

    Group G:

    Group H:

  • 15:36

    Group A: Russia

    Group B: Portugal

    Group C: France

    Group D: Argentina

    Group E: Brazil

    Group F: Germany

    Group G:

    Group H:

  • 15:37

    Group A: Russia

    Group B: Portugal

    Group C: France

    Group D: Argentina

    Group E: Brazil

    Group F: Germany

    Group G: Belgium

    Group H:

  • 15:37

    Group A: Russia

    Group B: Portugal

    Group C: France

    Group D: Argentina

    Group E: Brazil

    Group F: Germany

    Group G: Belgium

    Group H: Poland

  • 15:38

    Group A: Russia, Uruguay

    Group B: Portugal

    Group C: France

    Group D: Argentina

    Group E: Brazil

    Group F: Germany

    Group G: Belgium

    Group H: Poland

  • 15:39

    Group A: Russia, Uruguay

    Group B: Portugal, Spain

    Group C: France

    Group D: Argentina

    Group E: Brazil

    Group F: Germany

    Group G: Belgium

    Group H: Poland

  • 15:40

    Group A: Russia, Uruguay

    Group B: Portugal, Spain

    Group C: France, Peru

    Group D: Argentina

    Group E: Brazil

    Group F: Germany

    Group G: Belgium

    Group H: Poland

  • 15:41

    Group A: Russia, Uruguay

    Group B: Portugal, Spain

    Group C: France, Peru

    Group D: Argentina, Croatia

    Group E: Brazil

    Group F: Germany

    Group G: Belgium

    Group H: Poland

  • 15:41

    Group A: Russia, Uruguay

    Group B: Portugal, Spain

    Group C: France, Peru

    Group D: Argentina, Croatia

    Group E: Brazil, Switzerland

    Group F: Germany

    Group G: Belgium

    Group H: Poland

  • 15:42

    Group A: Russia, Uruguay

    Group B: Portugal, Spain

    Group C: France, Peru

    Group D: Argentina, Croatia

    Group E: Brazil, Switzerland

    Group F: Germany, Mexico

    Group G: Belgium

    Group H: Poland

  • 15:43

    Group A: Russia, Uruguay

    Group B: Portugal, Spain

    Group C: France, Peru

    Group D: Argentina, Croatia

    Group E: Brazil, Switzerland

    Group F: Germany, Mexico

    Group G: Belgium, England

    Group H: Poland

  • 15:43

    Group A: Russia, Uruguay

    Group B: Portugal, Spain

    Group C: France, Peru

    Group D: Argentina, Croatia

    Group E: Brazil, Switzerland

    Group F: Germany, Mexico

    Group G: Belgium, England

    Group H: Poland, Colombia

  • 15:45

    Group A: Russia, Uruguay, Egypt

    Group B: Portugal, Spain

    Group C: France, Peru

    Group D: Argentina, Croatia

    Group E: Brazil, Switzerland

    Group F: Germany, Mexico

    Group G: Belgium, England

    Group H: Poland, Colombia

  • 15:45

    Group A: Russia, Uruguay, Egypt

    Group B: Portugal, Spain

    Group C: France, Peru, Denmark

    Group D: Argentina, Croatia

    Group E: Brazil, Switzerland

    Group F: Germany, Mexico

    Group G: Belgium, England

    Group H: Poland, Colombia

  • 15:46
    Denmark go into Group C because a max of two European teams can only be drawn together, ruling out Group B.
  • 15:46

    Group A: Russia, Uruguay, Egypt

    Group B: Portugal, Spain, Iran

    Group C: France, Peru, Denmark

    Group D: Argentina, Croatia

    Group E: Brazil, Switzerland

    Group F: Germany, Mexico

    Group G: Belgium, England

    Group H: Poland, Colombia

  • 15:47

    Group A: Russia, Uruguay, Egypt

    Group B: Portugal, Spain, Iran

    Group C: France, Peru, Denmark

    Group D: Argentina, Croatia, Iceland

    Group E: Brazil, Switzerland

    Group F: Germany, Mexico

    Group G: Belgium, England

    Group H: Poland, Colombia

  • 15:48

    Group A: Russia, Uruguay, Egypt

    Group B: Portugal, Spain, Iran

    Group C: France, Peru, Denmark

    Group D: Argentina, Croatia, Iceland

    Group E: Brazil, Switzerland, Costa Rica

    Group F: Germany, Mexico

    Group G: Belgium, England

    Group H: Poland, Colombia

  • 15:48

    Group A: Russia, Uruguay, Egypt

    Group B: Portugal, Spain, Iran

    Group C: France, Peru, Denmark

    Group D: Argentina, Croatia, Iceland

    Group E: Brazil, Switzerland, Costa Rica

    Group F: Germany, Mexico, Sweden

    Group G: Belgium, England

    Group H: Poland, Colombia

  • 15:49

    Group A: Russia, Uruguay, Egypt

    Group B: Portugal, Spain, Iran

    Group C: France, Peru, Denmark

    Group D: Argentina, Croatia, Iceland

    Group E: Brazil, Switzerland, Costa Rica

    Group F: Germany, Mexico, Sweden

    Group G: Belgium, England, Tunisia

    Group H: Poland, Colombia

  • 15:50

    Group A: Russia, Uruguay, Egypt

    Group B: Portugal, Spain, Iran

    Group C: France, Peru, Denmark

    Group D: Argentina, Croatia, Iceland

    Group E: Brazil, Switzerland, Costa Rica

    Group F: Germany, Mexico, Sweden

    Group G: Belgium, England, Tunisia

    Group H: Poland, Colombia, Senegal

  • 15:51

    Group A: Russia, Uruguay, Egypt, Saudi Arabia

    Group B: Portugal, Spain, Iran

    Group C: France, Peru, Denmark

    Group D: Argentina, Croatia, Iceland

    Group E: Brazil, Switzerland, Costa Rica

    Group F: Germany, Mexico, Sweden

    Group G: Belgium, England, Tunisia

    Group H: Poland, Colombia, Senegal

  • 15:52

    Group A: Russia, Uruguay, Egypt, Saudi Arabia

    Group B: Portugal, Spain, Iran

    Group C: France, Peru, Denmark

    Group D: Argentina, Croatia, Iceland

    Group E: Brazil, Switzerland, Costa Rica, Serbia

    Group F: Germany, Mexico, Sweden

    Group G: Belgium, England, Tunisia

    Group H: Poland, Colombia, Senegal

  • 15:52
    Serbia go into Group E as there are already two European teams in Group B, C and D.
  • 15:53

    Group A: Russia, Uruguay, Egypt, Saudi Arabia

    Group B: Portugal, Spain, Iran, Morocco

    Group C: France, Peru, Denmark

    Group D: Argentina, Croatia, Iceland

    Group E: Brazil, Switzerland, Costa Rica, Serbia

    Group F: Germany, Mexico, Sweden

    Group G: Belgium, England, Tunisia

    Group H: Poland, Colombia, Senegal

  • 15:53

    Group A: Russia, Uruguay, Egypt, Saudi Arabia

    Group B: Portugal, Spain, Iran, Morocco

    Group C: France, Peru, Denmark, Australia

    Group D: Argentina, Croatia, Iceland

    Group E: Brazil, Switzerland, Costa Rica, Serbia

    Group F: Germany, Mexico, Sweden

    Group G: Belgium, England, Tunisia

    Group H: Poland, Colombia, Senegal

  • 15:54

    Group A: Russia, Uruguay, Egypt, Saudi Arabia

    Group B: Portugal, Spain, Iran, Morocco

    Group C: France, Peru, Denmark, Australia

    Group D: Argentina, Croatia, Iceland, Nigeria

    Group E: Brazil, Switzerland, Costa Rica, Serbia

    Group F: Germany, Mexico, Sweden

    Group G: Belgium, England, Tunisia

    Group H: Poland, Colombia, Senegal

  • 15:55

    Group A: Russia, Uruguay, Egypt, Saudi Arabia

    Group B: Portugal, Spain, Iran, Morocco

    Group C: France, Peru, Denmark, Australia

    Group D: Argentina, Croatia, Iceland, Nigeria

    Group E: Brazil, Switzerland, Costa Rica, Serbia

    Group F: Germany, Mexico, Sweden,

    Group G: Belgium, England, Tunisia, Panama

    Group H: Poland, Colombia, Senegal

  • 15:55

    Group A: Russia, Uruguay, Egypt, Saudi Arabia

    Group B: Portugal, Spain, Iran, Morocco

    Group C: France, Peru, Denmark, Australia

    Group D: Argentina, Croatia, Iceland, Nigeria

    Group E: Brazil, Switzerland, Costa Rica, Serbia

    Group F: Germany, Mexico, Sweden, South Korea

    Group G: Belgium, England, Tunisia, Panama

    Group H: Poland, Colombia, Senegal

  • 15:56

    Group A: Russia, Uruguay, Egypt, Saudi Arabia

    Group B: Portugal, Spain, Iran, Morocco

    Group C: France, Peru, Denmark, Australia

    Group D: Argentina, Croatia, Iceland, Nigeria

    Group E: Brazil, Switzerland, Costa Rica, Serbia

    Group F: Germany, Mexico, Sweden, South Korea

    Group G: Belgium, England, Tunisia, Panama

    Group H: Poland, Colombia, Senegal, Japan

  • 15:58

    So, that concludes the draw.

    And what a draw it is for England and, it must be said, for the hosts Russia.

    There's no real standout group of death but Group D and Group F look particularly tough and you wouldn't much fancy Iran's chances in Group B.

    I will have full fixtures for you in just a few minutes.

  • 16:18

    World Cup group stage draw

    Group A: Russia, Saudi Arabia, Egypt, Uruguay  

    Group B: Portugal, Spain, Morocco, Iran  

    Group C: France, Australia, Peru, Denmark  

    Group D: Argentina, Iceland, Croatia, Nigeria

    Group E: Brazil, Switzerland, Costa Rica, Serbia

    Group F: Germany, Mexico, Sweden, South Korea

    Group G: Belgium, Panama, Tunisia, England  

    Group H: Poland, Senegal, Colombia, Japan