When is the football World Cup draw and who could England play?

Attention turns to next month's football World Cup draw now that the play-offs for the final places are over.

By The Newsroom
Wednesday, 15th November 2017, 5:10 pm
Updated Tuesday, 12th December 2017, 11:22 am
Germany celebrate winning the 2014 World Cup in Brazil.
Germany celebrate winning the 2014 World Cup in Brazil.

With only England eventually qualifying from the home nations, here's all you need to know about who they could play next summer.

When is the 2018 World Cup draw and will I be able to watch it?

Germany celebrate winning the 2014 World Cup in Brazil.

The draw takes place in the Kremlin, in Moscow, capital city of host country Russia, on Friday, December 1, at 3pm British time. It is due to be screened live by BBC and ITV, who will share live coverage of matches next summer, while also streamed live by organiser FIFA.

How is the draw conducted?

The 32 qualifiers will be divided into four pots of eight teams according to their FIFA rankings for October. One country from each pot will then be drawn to play each other as part of eight groups of four sides. England are in pot two.

Now for the small print. No two teams from the same confederation - Asia, Africa, etc - can be drawn against each other with the exception of European sides. Even then only a maximum of two can be paired in the same group.

England players celebrate during the 2-2 qualifying draw with Scotland in June.

So which three teams could England play in the group stage?

It's probably easier to say who they can't play. Pot two also includes Spain, Switzerland, Colombia, Mexico, Uruguay, Croatia and Peru.

Every World Cup has a Group of Death. What would England's be?

How about perennial favourites Brazil from pot one, Iran, beaten just twice since the 2014 tournament, from pot three and Serbia, likely to attract home support as historic Russian allies, from pot four?

Germany celebrate winning the 2014 World Cup in Brazil.

What would England's ideal World Cup group be?

How about Poland from pot one, Tunisia from pot three and the lowest ranked qualifiers, Saudi Arabia, from pot four?

When is the tournament itself?

The World Cup begins on Thursday, June 14, and finishes on Sunday, July 15, with the bulk of matches kicking off at 1pm, 4pm and 7pm British time. The final in Moscow takes place at 4pm.

England players celebrate during the 2-2 qualifying draw with Scotland in June.

Will England be in that final?

Despite improved results and performances under Gareth Southgate, history suggests no. The script usually revolves around an uninspiring draw against a minnow before we scrape through to the knock-out stage with a nervy win in the last group game.

Defeat in the last 16 tie is then masked by complaints over a 54th-minute throw-in which was wrongly awarded against us.

Cue social media and pundit condemnation of ref, squad and manager alike before club managers defend their players' reputations in pre-season while the Premier League denies that domestic demands left our stars too tired to perform.

Hopes then rise once more with a host of convincing autumn 2020 European Championship qualifying victories against the might of Andorra and Belarus (remember "there are no easy games in football and we have to be professional"). And so the circus continues.

How do we get tickets to watch World Cup matches?

Ticket sales resume today for the general public until Tuesday, November 28, on a first-come first-served basis at FIFA.com/tickets. At a current exchange rate of £1 to nearly 80 rubles, tickets for non-Russian fans cost from £80 for group games to as much as £833 for the most expensive final tickets.