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banner Wednesday, 28 November, 2001, 12:47 GMT
How the draw works
Fifa president Sepp Blatter
Sepp Blatter announcing the seeds on Wednesday
The World Cup Finals draw will be held at the Busan Exhibition and Convention Centre, South Korea on Saturday.

  • There will be live coverage from 1000 GMT on BBC Two, BBC Radio Five Live and BBC Sport Online.

    Pot One: (the seeds) France, South Korea, Japan, Brazil, Argentina, Italy, Germany, Spain.

    Pot Two: (the non-seeded Europeans) Belgium, Croatia, Denmark, England, Ireland, Poland, Portugal, Russia, Slovenia, Sweden, Turkey.

    Pot Three: Ecuador, Paraguay, Uruguay, China, Saudi Arabia.

    Pot Four: Cameroon, Nigeria, Senegal, South Africa, Tunisia, Costa Rica, Mexico, United States.

    Eight groups for the World Cup Finals will be drawn on Saturday from four "pots" containing the 32 qualifiers.

    The first pot contains the eight seeded nations - chosen on "sports, geographic and economic factors".

    Each of these seeds will be placed in their own group from Group A through to H.

    The second stage involves Pot Two - which contains the 11 unseeded European nations.

    Eight of these 11 countries will be pulled from the hat and placed in one of the eight groups.

    That means four groups - those headed by France, Italy, Germany and Spain - will have two European teams.

      Forming the groups
    The eight seeded countries will each have their own group
    Eight unseeded teams from Europe will join them
    The three other unseeded teams from Europe will be put in a group with Brazil, Argentina, Japan or Korea

    The three remaining European nations from Pot Two will be drawn to play in the four groups which do not already contain two other European teams.

    Then the five teams in Pot Three will be allocated to a group, and finally the eight teams in Pot Four will be drawn.

    England and the Republic of Ireland could find themselves in the same group, as they did at the 1990 World Cup.

    But the chances are against that happening.

    One of the two countries would have to be in the first eight drawn from Pot Two with the other in the last three.

    Even then the first out would have to be drawn with a non-European seed.

    Uruguay's Dario Silva celebrates a World Cup qualifying goal against Australia
    Uruguay will be a dangerous non-seed

    The fact that Japan and Korea are both seeded means that England or Ireland could find themselves in relatively easy groups.

    Either could concievably end up with one of the host nations, plus two minnows such as Ecuador and Senegal.

    Or - just as conceivably - England or Ireland could find themselves in a group with Brazil, Portugal and Cameroon.

    The structure of the draw was settled on after Fifa took into account political pressure from all angles.

    Neither of the co-hosts, Japan and South Korea, wanted to be in a less attractive group from the other.

    They also wanted the most glamorous first-round fixtures to be spread between the two host nations.

      England and Ireland
    England and Ireland could be in the same group
    England or Ireland could have easier groups if given Japan or Korea as their seed
    England or Ireland could face 'groups of death' if drawn in Brazil or Argentina's group

    Fifa wanted to make sure that no group contained more than two European teams.

    And football's governing body also bowed to a request from China not to play any of their group games in Japan.

    The ceremony - which will be presided over by Sepp Blatter - is expected to last 90 minutes.

    The world's football elite will be entertained during that time by American singer Anastacia and Greek composer Vangelis.

    BBC Sport's David Eades
    "This is a fantastically complicated arrangement"
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