World Cup - FIFA's draw change spells trouble for England

England could potentially be placed in a 'group of death' after FIFA announced a change to its World Cup draw.

World Cup - FIFA's draw change spells trouble for England

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Roy Hodgson made the joke at half-time in England's game against Poland at Wembley

FIFA has announced a change to its usual draw procedure which will see one of the nine unseeded European teams - including England - placed in Pot Two along with Algeria, Cameroon, Chile, Ivory Coast, Ecuador, Ghana and Nigeria.

If England were selected for that pot, it would mean Hodgson's men would be in the same group as a seeded South American side such as Brazil and Argentina, and would face another of the unseeded European sides, with Holland or Italy among the possibilities.

It was expected that France would automatically be selected as the European team to join Pot Two because they are the lowest-ranked European nationa.

However, it is reported that UEFA president Michel Platini - a former France international - pressured FIFA to instead pick one of the nine unseeded European teams at random.

As expected, the eight seeded teams - hosts Brazil plus the top seven sides according to FIFA's October world rankings - will be kept apart for the group stage.

The draw will be organised so that there will be no more than two European teams in any group of four countries, and all the South American teams will be kept apart.

It means England will have to face one of the top seeds - hosts Brazil, Argentina, Colombia, Uruguay, Spain, Germany, Belgium and Switzerland - who are in Pot One.

Pot Three is made up of the teams from Asia and North and Central America - Costa Rica, Honduras, Iran, Japan, Korea Republic, Mexico and the United States - as well as Australia.

In Pot Four there are nine unseeded European teams: Bosnia-Herzegovina, Croatia, England, France, Greece, Italy, Netherlands, Portugal and Russia.

In order to make the number in each pot equal, at the start of the draw one of the nine European teams will be drawn into Pot Two, and will definitely face one of the seeded South American sides.

Meanwhile, FIFA president Sepp Blatter insisted he has the "utmost confidence" that Brazil's 12 stadiums will be ready in time - but at least two, Curitiba and Sao Paulo, will not be completed until February.

Blatter said at a news conference: "The problems we now face regarding the stadiums are so small we can close our eyes.

"But there is one sad fact and we deplore the loss of the two people who lost their lives last week and we are feeling sad with the families, but the stadium will be ready for the opening match (in Sao Paulo)."




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