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Football correspondent Mike Ingham
"The drama was saved until the end"
 real 28k

Tuesday, 7 December, 1999, 16:28 GMT
World Cup qualifying draw
Sumo wrestler Konishiki and Fifa general secretary Michel Zen-Ruffinen Japanese sumo wrestler Konishiki, alias the dump truck, helps with the draw


The draw contained a record 195 teams and took place in the following order:
  • Confederation of Asia
  • Oceania
  • South America
  • North America
  • The Caribbean
  • Africa
  • Europe

Asia

The rules: Hosts Japan and South Korea are already through, two more will definitely join them while a fifth country plays a European team for another place.

How they are selected: Winners of ten groups drawn on Tuesday advance to two second round groups of five, the winners of which qualify. Runners-up play each other for the right to play-off against a runner-up from the European groups for an extra place.

Group 1
Oman
Syria
Laos
Philippines

Group 2
Iran
Tajikstan
Myanmar
Guam

Group 3
Qatar
Malaysia
Hong Kong
Palestine

Group 4
Kuwait
Singapore
Bahrain
Kyrgystan

Group 5
Thailand
Lebanon
Sri Lanka
Pakistan

Group 6
Iraq
Kazakhstan
Nepal
Macau

Group 7
Uzbekistan
Jordan
Turkmenistan
Taiwan

Group 8
United Arab Emirates
India
Yemen
Brunei

Group 9
China
Indonesia
Maldives
Cambodia

Group 10
Saudi Arabia
Vietnam
Bangladesh
Mongolia

Oceania

The rules: One team plays the fifth-ranked team from Southn America for a finals place

How they are selected: Winners of two groups play each other for the right to play the South American side.

Group 1
Australia
Tonga
Fiji American Samoa
Samoa

Group 2
New Zealand
Vanuatu
Cook Islands

South America

The rules: The top four teams in a single ten-team league qualify directly with the fifth going into a play-off against the winner of the Oceania zone.

How they are selected: Eighteen games each in a simple but lengthy league featuring the continent's ten teams:

Argentina
Bolivia
Brazil
Chile
Colombia
Ecuador
Paraguay
Peru
Uruguay
Venezuela

North, Central America and the Caribbean

The rules: Three teams qualify after the most complicated contiental selection process of all.

How they are selected: Winners of two central America groups go into a 12-team semi-final stage.

Twenty-four Caribbean nations play three rounds of knockout ties to produce three teams, who advance to semi-final stage.

Loser of third round tie in the strongest of the three sections - Group One - plays Canada for place in the semi-final stage.

Third round losers in other Caribbean groups play runners up of the central American groups for place in semi-final stage.

Four seeded teams - Costa Rica, Mexico, Jamaica and the US - go straight to a semi-final stage, which is drawn later, and provides three qualifiers.

Central American Group 1
El Salvador
Belize
Guatemala

Central American Group 2
Honduras
Nicaragua
Panama

Caribbean knockout Group 1
Cuba v Cayman Islands
St Lucia v Surinam
Aruba v Puerto Rico
Barbados v Grenada

Caribbean knockout Group 2
St Vincent and Grenada v US Virgin Islands
St Kitts and Nevis v Turks and Caicos Islands
Guyana v Antigua and Barbuda
British Virgin Islands v Bermuda

Caribbean knockout Group 3
Trinidad and Tobago v Netherlands Antilles
Dominican Republic v Montserrat
Dominica v Haiti
Anguilla v Bahamas

(Caribbean groups are seeded already - so winners of Cuba v Cayman Islands play winners of St Lucia v Surinam etc then winners of top and bottom half of groups play each other.)

Africa

The rules: Five teams qualify automatically

How they are selected: Twenty-five seeded teams play 25 unseeded nations. The winners are drawn into five groups of five at a later date, the winners of which go to Japan and South Korea.

Knockout ties:Cape Verde Islands v Algeria
Mauritania v Tunisia
Benin v Senegal
Guinea-Bissau v Togo
Gambia v Morocco
Lesotho v South Africa
Swaziland v Angola
Botswana v Zambia
Madagascar v Gabon
Sudan v Mozambique
Equatorial Guinea v Congo
Libya v Mali
Rwanda v Cote d'Ivoire
Sao Tome e Principe v Sierra Leone
Central African Republic v Zimbabwe
Seychelles v Namibia
Djibouti v Congo Democratic Republic
Somalia v Cameroon
Mauritius v Egypt
Eritrea v Nigeria
Chad v Liberia
Uganda v Guinea
Ethiopia v Burkina Faso
Malawi v Kenya
Tanzania v Ghana

Europe

The rules: Holders France are there already, at least 13 and possibly 14 will join them.

How they are decided: Winners of nine groups qualify automatically. Nine runners-up, and one Asian team, play-off to provide five more qualifiers.

Group 1
Yugoslavia
Russia
Switzerland
Slovenia
Luxembourg
Faroe Islands

Group 2
Netherlands
Portugal
Republic of Ireland
Cyprus
Andorra

Group 3
Czech Republic
Denmark
Bulgaria
Iceland
Northern Ireland
Malta

Group 4
Sweden
Turkey
Slovakia
FYR Macedonia
Azerbaijan, Moldova

Group 5
Norway
Ukraine
Poland
Wales
Armenia
Belarus

Group 6
Belgium
Scotland
Croatia
Latvia
San Marino

Group 7
Spain
Austria
Israel
Bosnia-Herzogovina
Liechtenstein

Group 8
Romania
Italy
Lithuania
Hungary
Georgia

Group 9
Germany
England
Greece
Finland
Albania

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See also:
05 Dec 99 |  Football
Wembley redesign call dismissed
03 Dec 99 |  Football
World Cup seedings blow for England
02 Dec 99 |  Football
North Korea pull out of cup
06 Jul 99 |  Football
Fifa settles Asia World Cup dispute
18 Nov 99 |  Football
Keegan insists England can triumph
21 Nov 99 |  Football
Brown makes pledge to quit

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