To get involved use
) or text us via 81111 with FOOTBALL before your message. (Not all contributions can be used. Messages will be charged at your standard operator rate.)
By Sam Lyon
2120: And THAT ladies and gentleman, is how you process a
draw. With completely unnecessary and highly unimpressive musical interludes. It will be another Eastern Europe adventure for England, a tough-looking draw for Scotland and Wales, a could-have-been-a-lot-worse one for Northern Ireland and a Liquorice All-Sorts for Republic of Ireland. All eyes, though, I dare say might be on that Spain-France match-up come qualifying time. Tasty. Thanks for accompanying me on this Saturday evening draw, make sure you join
next weekend for the Championship's kick-off and me -
- the week after for the start of the Premier League campaign. Dazzling. Until then, get away with ya, ya little scamps.
Scotland and Liverpool midfielder
on Twitter: "Tough draw but have a good chance nothing is impossible."
2108: The qualifiers, which got under way on 15 June believe it or not, will be concluded by 19 November 2013, by the way, with the complete match schedule announced in October. The 2014 World Cup will be played 12 June-13 July.
2105: The full EUROPEAN ZONE DRAW then... Group A: Croatia, Serbia, Belgium, SCOTLAND, Macedonia, WALES Group B: Italy, Denmark, Czech Republic, Bulgaria, Armenia, Malta. Group C: Germamy, Sweden, R of Ireland, Austria, Faroe Is, K'stan. Group D: Netherlands, Turkey, Hungary, Romania, Estonia, Andorra. Group E: Norway, Slovenia, Switzerland, Albania, Cyprus, Iceland. Group F: Portugal, Russia, Israel, N IRELAND, Azerbaijan, L'bourg Group G: Greece, Slovakia, Bosnia-H, Lithuania, Latvia, Lichtenstein Group H: ENGLAND, Montenegro, Ukraine, Poland, Moldova, S Marino Group I: Spain, France, Belarus, Georgia, Finland
2100: That concludes the 2014 World Cup preliminary draw. Pick the bones out of that will ya...
2058: Group I: Spain, France, Belarus, Georgia, Finland
2058: Group H: ENGLAND, Montenegro, Ukraine, Poland, Moldova, San Marino
2057: Group G: Greece, Slovakia, Bosnia-Herzegovina, Lithuania, Latvia, Lichtenstein
2057: Group F: Portugal, Russia, Israel, NORTHERN IRELAND, Azerbaijan, Luxembourg
2057: Group E: Norway, Slovenia, Switzerland, Albania, Cyprus, Iceland.
2057: Group D: Netherlands, Turkey, Hungary, Romania, Estonia, Andorra.
2056: Group C: Germamy, Sweden, Republic of Ireland, Austria, Faroe Islands, Kazakhstan.
2056: Group B: Italy, Denmark, Czech Republic, Bulgaria, Armenia, Malta.
2056: Group A: Croatia, Serbia, Belgium, SCOTLAND, Macedonia, WALES
2056: Next up, the top seeds...
2055: And Group F is now Russia, Israel, NORTHERN IRELAND, Azerbaijan, Luxembourg.
2054: Group C is now: Sweden, Republic of Ireland, Austria, Faroe Islands and Kazakhstan.
2054: SCOTLAND, WALES, Macedonia and Belgium are joined in Group A by Serbia.
2053: Group A is looking like this: Belgium, SCOTLAND, Macedonia, WALES. Group F: Israel, NORTHERN IRELAND, Azerbaijan, Luxembourg.
2052: It's Group C for Republic of Ireland alongside Austria, Faroe Islands and Kazakhstan.
2050: On to pot three, featuring Republic of Ireland...
2049: NORTHERN IRELAND go into Group F alongside Azerbaijan and Luxembourg. Nay bad...
2048: Here we go from pot four... and SCOTLAND join WALES and Macedonia in Group A.
2046: All the teams from pot six allocated, we move on to pot five - and WALES are joined in Group A by Macedonia. Ouch.
2045: WALES are first out of pot six. They go into Group A.
2044: Here we go...
2042: It's here! Almost! The draw for the European Zone is almost starting! A reminder, then, that the 53 European countries will be drawn into nine qualification groups - all made up of six teams apart from one of five teams. The countries have been split into six seeded pots with one team from each pot drawn into each group. The nine group winners will qualify automatically. The eight best group runners-up will contest play-offs for the four remaining places. Bish. Bash. Bosh.
Campbell via text: "RE: 2029 - Yah! I got "American Samoa/Cook Islands/Samoa or Tonga" in the office sweepstake!"
TheJasonBilling on Twitter:
"European qualifying draw for 2014 WC about to start. Shall we just save them the bother and give it to Spain now?"
2037: A reminder, then, of your European Zone seedings... Pot One: ENGLAND, Spain, Holland, Germany, Portugal, Italy, Croatia, Norway, Greece Pot Two: France, Montenegro, Russia, Sweden, Denmark, Slovenia, Turkey, Serbia, Slovakia Pot Three: Switzerland, Israel, Rep of Ireland, Belgium, Czech Republic, Bosnia-Herzegovina, Belarus, Ukraine, Hungary Pot Four: N IRELAND, SCOTLAND, Bulgaria, Romania, Georgia, Lithuania, Albania, Austria, Poland Pot Five: Armenia, Finland, Estonia, Cyprus, Latvia, Moldova, FYR Macedonia, Azerbaijan, Faroe Islands Pot Six: WALES, Liechtenstein, Iceland, Kazakhstan, Luxembourg, Malta, Andorra, San Marino
Drkstl on Twitter:
"Oh dear, will we have musical interludes after every goal at the 2014 World Cup too?"
2036: Next up, people, the EUROPEAN ZONE DRAW... huzzah.
2035: There will, of course, be no SOUTH AMERICAN ZONE DRAW, but a reminder that South America have 4.5 places for the finals with hosts Brazil qualifying automatically. The nine other countries play in one league with the top four qualifying and the fifth going to the intercontinental play-off.
2032: More music. An orchestra bash out something or another while standing and sitting in tandem. It's no 'Last Night Of The Proms'.
2029: OCEANIA ZONE DRAW (round two): Group A: Vanuatu, New Caledonia, American Samoa/Cook Islands/Samoa or Tonga, Tahiti Group B: Fiji, New Zealand, Solomon Islands, Papua New Guinea
2028: Oceania, as if you needed reminding (paha) have 0.5 places available for the World Cup, meaning the 11 countries play preliminary games to produce a final group of four. The winner qualifies for the intercontinental play-off.
2026: And now... the Oceania Zone Draw...
BBC 5 Live senior football reporter
in Rio: "Show in Rio running about ten mins so European draw should start just before 8.40pm BST."
(The) Danny Baker on Twitter:
"World Cup draw just stopped for ANOTHER musical interlude. This is entirely Fifa's idea of what supporters need and deserve. Beyond contempt."
2020: Another musical interlude! This time a version of 'The Girl from Ipanema'. A half-decent one, to be fair.
2017: CONCACAF Zone Draw (round three) Group A: USA, Jamaica, Winner of R2 Grp E, Winner of R2 Grp F Group B: Mexico, Costa Rica, Winner of R2 Grp A, Winner of R2 Grp B Group C: Honduras, Cuba, Winner of R2 Grp D, Winner of R2 Grp C Remember, the top two teams in each group go through to a league, with the top three in that league qualifying and the fourth-placed team going into the Intercontinental Play-Off. That's right isn't it?
2014: CONCACAF Zone Draw (round two) Group A: El Salvador, Surinam, Cayman Islands, Dominican Republic Group B: Trinidad & Tobago, Guyana, Barbados, Bermuda Group C: Panama, Dominica, Nicaragua, Bahamas Group D: Canada, St. Kitts & Nevis, Puerto Rico, St Lucia Group E: Grenada, Guatemala, St Vincent/ Grenadines, Belize Group F: Haiti, Antigua and Barbuda, Curacao, US Virgin Island These groups will play off, with the winner of each group going through to the final qualifying groups, to be drawn right now...
ohaiitskarl on Twitter:
"Talk about how many people it takes to change a lightbulb, how many Brazilians does it take to do a World Cup draw!?"
Greggsy, Manchester, via text: "Did anyone notice that one of the songs those god awful musicians just performed was the Blower's Daughter by Damien Rice, in portuguese? He can't feel too flattered. Surely Brazilian music can do better than that?"
2005: Bebeto - the legendary former Brazilian striker - is on the stage to make the CONCACAF draw. CONCACAF have 3.5 places for the finals for the 35 countries from north and central America and the Caribbean. Three qualifying rounds will leave six teams, who play each other on a league basis. The top three qualify and the fourth-placed team go into the intercontinental play-off.
WALES BEST CASE: Norway, Slovakia, Hungary, Albania, Faroe Islands. As part of Pot Six, Wales - who made their only appearance at a World Cup finals since 1958 - cannot avoid being drawn in a six-team group. So a line-up looks about as appealing as it could get for Gary Speed's team. WORST CASE: Spain, France, Switzerland, Scotland, Macedonia. Wales could conceivably sink without trace in this group, with Scotland proving too good for them in the recent Carling Nations Cup.
SCOTLAND BEST CASE: Norway, Slovakia, Hungary, Faroe Islands. Scotland were hammered 4-0 by Norway in the last set of World Cup qualifiers, but on paper they look the weakest of the top seeds. Scotland would certainly be motivated. WORST CASE: Spain, France, Switzerland, Macedonia, Iceland. Scotland famously beat France in the Euro 2008 qualifiers and ran Spain close in a Euro 2012 encounter in October. But taking on two of Europe's heavyweights in qualifying will be something Craig Levein is keen to avoid as Scotland aim to qualify for the World Cup for the first time since 1998.
NORTHERN IRELAND BEST CASE: Norway, Slovakia, Hungary, Faroe Islands. Not since 1998 have Norway qualified for the World Cup finals, so arguably they have the weakest pedigree of the top seeds. Manager Nigel Worthington might view them as the easiest option in the top pot. WORST CASE: Spain, France, Switzerland, Macedonia, Iceland A group containing bewitching world champions Spain and reinvigorated powerhouse France - plus the up-and-coming Swiss - would be the most daunting task imaginable.
ENGLAND BEST CASE: Slovakia, Hungary, Albania, Faroe Islands. There is the glittering chance of being part of only one five-team group in European qualifying. That would surely mean less grey hairs for stressed-out Premier League bosses, relieved to see their stars playing two less competitive internationals. Slovakia are the lowest-ranked side in Pot 2 - but they're no slouches, as they proved in knocking holders Italy out of the 2010 World Cup. WORST CASE: France, Switzerland, Scotland, Macedonia, Iceland. France, world champions in 1998 but a disaster in South Africa last year, showed in their friendly victory over England in November that they are getting back on track. Never short of stars. The Swiss were runners-up to world-conquering Spain at this summer's European Under-21 Championships and are building a strong side. A trip to Hampden Park against the Auld Enemy needs no hyperbole.
1959: Let's take the opportunity to have a look at the home nations' potential draw...
processr on Twitter:
"A musical interlude? Seriously? This is the World Cup draw, not Brazil's Got Talent!"
1957: I spoke too soon. We have a musical interlude with Ana Carlina and Ivan Lins. And it looks like Ivan has forgotten his words. Bless im.
1955: It might have been a sluggish start but we're cooking on gas now, folks. We're racing through the draws. Next up - CONCACAF.
1953: ASIAN ZONE DRAW Group A: China, Jordan, Iraq, Singapore Group B: Korea Republic, Kuwait, UAE, Lebanon Group C: Japan, Uzbekistan, Syria, Korea DPR Group D: Australia, Saudi Arabia, Oman, Thailand Group E: Iran, Qatar, Bahrain, Indonesia Asia have 4.5 places in the finals, meaning the group winners and runners-up qualify, with the third-placed teams playing off to go to the intercontinental play-off.
BBC sports news correspondent
Tim Franks: "Drop sweats begun. Unsure if 47 spreadsheets of WC draw permutations will work on live TV. Guess I'll find out in one hour."
1947: Now it's time for the Asian Zone Draw. And you know what's not helping me? This bloke's weird and wonderful pronounciations of each country as they come out. It's like watching Allo Allo's Officer Crabtree preside over the draw.
1945: AFRICAN ZONE DRAW Group A: South Africa, Botswana, Central African Republic, Somalia or Ethiopia Group B: Tunisia, Cape Verde Islands, Sierra Leone, Equatorial Guinea or Madagascar Group C: Cote d'Ivoire, Morocco, Gambia, Chad or Tanzania Group D: Ghana, Zambia, Sudan, Lesotho or Burundi Group E: Burkina Faso, Gabon, Niger, Sao Tome e Principe or Congo Group F: Nigeria, Malawi, Seychelles or Kenya, Djibouti or Namibia Group G: Egypt, Guinea, Zimbabwe, Comoros or Mozambique Group H: Algeria, Mali, Benin, Eritrea or Rwanda Group I: Cameroon, Libya, Guinea-Bissau or Togo, Swaziland or Congo DR Group J: Senegal, Uganda, Angola, Mauritius or Liberia
1940: The African Zone draw goes on. And on. Though that is unsurprisingly given the amount of nations involved. Basically, the 24 worst teams are drawn against each other, with the 12 winners of those matches joining the 28 best teams to be drawn into 10 groups of four. The winners of those four groups will be paired off into five two-legged ties. The five winners go to Brazil. How am I meant to outline this draw clearly on a live text commentary? Exactly.
DarlingComedy on Twitter:
"The WC draw is like Eurovision, everyone is speaking another language and there's one English guy trying to make sense of it all."
Des via text: "Lapping up the sun in Perth. Honestly, Norway as a No.1 seed and France in pot two!!! I guarantee Scotland will get a shocker. Again!!"
mehawind on Twitter:
"Difficult to choose an ultimate Group Of Death. Best I can do: Esp/Ger; Fra; Switz/Belg; Bulg/Romania; Finland; Wales/Iceland."
1932: In Rio, the draw for the African Zone is being made. First up is the draw for the preliminary rounds - a rather laborious process that is currently taking place - after which the 40 surviving teams will contest 10 groups of four teams each. Africa have five available places in the World Cup finals. By my calculations, we're already 10 minutes behind schedule in this ceremony. Sheesh.
1930: I can tell you good people, by the way, via
our man on the scene Radio 5 Live's Ian Dennis,
that in Friday's rehearsal - though why they need to rehearse picking balls out of a bag is beyond me - England, Scotland and Wales were drawn in the same group. Omen?
1927: What those European seedings mean, of course, is that we could have three home nations in one qualifying group. Boomtown. It also means that England could face France, Northern Ireland and Scotland will need a big stroke of luck not to face two monster teams - at least - and that Wales are so likely to find themselves in some sort of group of death that boss Gary Speed may as well book his 2014 summer holiday break now. Are we clear?
davewasher on Twitter:
"Whoever England get, surely we've all got to be more hopeful with the great Fabio Capello out of the equation? Bring on Harry Redknapp."
1923: INTERCONTINENTAL PLAY-OFF DRAW Asia v South America CONCACAF v Oceania Which means the teams forced to qualify through the play-off route now know their fate in terms of the continent from which their opponent will come. I told you all will become clear.
1921: Right then, while the Intercontinental play-off draw is made, I'll make my first mention of the European seedings, shall I? Pot One: ENGLAND, Spain, Holland, Germany, Portugal, Italy, Croatia, Norway, Greece Pot Two: France, Montenegro, Russia, Sweden, Denmark, Slovenia, Turkey, Serbia, Slovakia Pot Three: Switzerland, Israel, Rep of Ireland, Belgium, Czech Republic, Bosnia-Herzegovina, Belarus, Ukraine, Hungary Pot Four: N IRELAND, SCOTLAND, Bulgaria, Romania, Georgia, Lithuania, Albania, Austria, Poland Pot Five: Armenia, Finland, Estonia, Cyprus, Latvia, Moldova, FYR Macedonia, Azerbaijan, Faroe Islands Pot Six: WALES, Liechtenstein, Iceland, Kazakhstan, Luxembourg, Malta, Andorra, San Marino
Daily Telegraph football correspondent
on Twitter: "We're at the "advanced transportation system, great airports, new Brazil ready to dazzle the world' stage of build-up. Bring on the balls."
1917: Good news! You can share my bemusement whenever someone speaks Portuguese with the live video now posted above! Hoorah. A cheeky refresh is needed and then you are all over it like a very cheap suit. Happy days.
BBC 5 Live senior football reporter
in Rio: "Sepp Blatter points out its 81 years to the day since first World Cup final. Didn't mention it's 45 years to the day England won it in 66."
cjgraham82 on Twitter:
"Bless your excitement Sam! I wasn't excited here in Hong Kong before (it's 2am) but I am now!"
Ross, Glasgow via text: "I'm sure I'm not the only Scotland fan who would love a shot at England, please make it happen Sepp!"
1910: Hands up. It could have been Portuguese, not Spanish. My language skills embarrass me again. Not that I missed much. "Let's go!" says Sepp Blatter to end a speech that is luke-warmly received. Yes, let's.
1905: Ah, it's all right, Fifa president Sepp Blatter is up for a speech - and after an opening in Spanish, he's quickly into English. I'm back in the room. Pele is there too! And he's blagged a front-row seat. Some people...
Steve,coleraine, NI via text: "Dream group for NI- Holland, France, ROI, Moldova and Andorra. A couple of giants for huge games at Windsor, a couple of duffers for goal difference, and a massive local derby! GREEN AND WHITE ARMY!"
1902: Oof! It's all in Spanish. Any translators fancy a spot of moonlighting?
1900: I have sound! And pictures! Glory be. Carnival time.
BBC 5 Live senior football reporter
in Rio: "On time with security and sponsors video underway but still about 15 mins before draw starts. Sepp Blatter will address audience shortly."
1857: Good people of the live text commentary, a running order (timings approximate): 1921: African Zone Draw. 1941: Asian Zone Draw. 1952: North American, Central and Caribbean (CONCACAF) Zone Draw. 2011: Oceania Zone Draw. 2029: European Zone Draw.
taj90 on Twitter:
"Scotland's dream draw: Norway, Slovenia, Bosnia-Herzegovina, Faroe Islands, San Marino. Let's have it!"
IainFordyce17 on Twitter:
"I believe whatever group England get they will qualify. Hope we can emulate that and perform at the big stage this time!"
1851: Anyway, why not get involved in this here commentary? You could, for example, perhaps tell me how you will be drinking in tonight's draw? I for one, will be doing so from the canal shores of Costa Del Salford bathed in sunshine. Seriously. So Tweet the commentary via the hashtag
or text me via 81111 (UK). Aces.
1848: Or... at least I think it has. It has according to my schedule and my TV feed appears to show movement from the grand ceremony hall. But I am sans audio at the moment, people, which means I'm watching what appears to be an elaborate
mime show. I like it.
1845: The ceremony has started. And what a start it is... a "governer and mayor video". Anticipation levels sky rocket, pulses race, knees jangle. It's all happening. Ish.
1843: Erm, not quite. A couple of things to remember - there will be no draw for the South American zone as the nine teams will qualify through a one-group championship mode, while Fifa has said that it will not draw together Azerbaijan and Armenia nor Russia and Georgia because of political conflicts which could lead to fan violence during qualifying matches. And the complications only start there. Stick with me, though, and all will become clear. We can but hope.
1841: So, basically, in a ceremony kicking off at 1845 BST (1445 local time in Rio de Janeiro) we will witness before our very eyes the draws for the African; Asian; North American, Central and Caribbean; Oceanic and European zones for their 2014 World Cup qualification campaigns. In that order. Oh and also a bunch of videos, presentations, speeches and what the Fifa running order entertaingly refers to as "vignettes" (seriously). What joy. Simple, yes?
1837: And start, does the countdown, with the draw for the 2014 World Cup qualifying groups - 203 teams, playing an eventual 824 matches across the globe, in a bid to take one of 31 available places for the 2014 finals alongside hosts and automatic qualifiers Brazil. Anyone want a rundown of how it'll work? Of course you do...
1834: ...you're in luck, people, because today marks the start of the official countdown to the 2014 World Cup finals in Rio de Janeiro, Brazil. Yes, we're only a fortnight away from the start of
the 2011-12 Premier League season.
OK, we've got 313 days to go until
in Poland and Ukraine. Aye, we're barely a year away from the start of
the 2012 Olympics.
But those countdowns pale into insignificance when you consider the 1047 days we have to endure until the greatest football show on earth returns. Excitement abounds.
1830: Now then, good summer? Let me guess... it's all well and good the sun shining, an ice cold drink in your hand and your toes dipped into the coastal waters of some far-off beachtown, but you would swap it all for some sort of football-related draw right? Aha. Well...
This page is best viewed in an up-to-date web browser with style sheets (CSS) enabled. While you will be able to view the content of this page in your current browser, you will not be able to get the full visual experience. Please consider upgrading your browser software or enabling style sheets (CSS) if you are able to do so.