World Cup 2018 seeding: Pots, procedure & all you need to know ahead of the draw

The draw for the biggest sporting event in the world takes place at the beginning of December, so Goal brings you all the details

The 2018 World Cup is just over six months away and all 32 finalists will soon be known as the last stages qualification reach a conclusion.

Before the tournament kicks off next June, the participating teams will be divided into eight groups by way of a draw and managers will then be able to begin preparing for their opponents.

Teams will be placed into seeding pots for the draw, which is set to take place in December. 

With under a month to go, Goal takes a look at the World Cup seeding and how it will work.


World Cup Trophy

How is the seeding decided?

The seeding for the 2018 World Cup draw is based on the FIFA ranking for October 2017. There will be four seeding pots, each containing eight teams. 

Pot 1 will contain hosts Russia and the highest ranking teams, with the next eight highest ranked teams in Pot 2 and so on.

World Cup 2018 qualified teams & seeding pots

FIFA world ranking in brackets
* Could end up in Pot 2 or 3
** Could end up in Pot 3 or 4

Pot 1 Pot 2 Pot 3 Pot 4
Russia (Hosts) Spain (8) Iceland (21)* Panama (49)
Germany (1) England (12) Costa Rica (22)* South Korea (62)
Brazil (2) Colombia (13) Egypt (30) Saudi Arabia (63)
Portugal (3) Mexico (16) Iran (34)  
Argentina (4) Uruguay (17) Serbia (38)**  
Belgium (5)   Nigeria (41)**  
Poland (6)   Japan (44)**  
France (7)      

The table above shows the projected seeding pots for the teams that have qualified for the World Cup. As you can see, Pot 1 has been populated, while others will be filled in due course, depending on which teams ultimately qualify.

There are currently nine places at the tournament left up for grabs.

Gianluigi Buffon Italy

Yet to qualify:

The table below shows the teams that could qualify for the World Cup and their projected seeding pot based on their world ranking in October 2017.

Team World ranking (Oct) Seeding Pot
Peru 10 2
Switzerland 11 2
Italy 15 2
Croatia 18 2 or 3
Denmark 19 2 or 3
Northern Ireland 23 2 or 3
Sweden 25 3
Republic of Ireland 26 3
Tunisia 28 3
Senegal 32 3
DR Congo 35 3
Australia 43 3 or 4
Greece 47 4
Morocco 48 4
Burkina Faso 55 4
Ivory Coast 61 4
Cape Verde 64 4
Honduras 69 4
South Africa 74 4
New Zealand 122 4


World Cup trophy

The draw for the 2018 World Cup will take place on Friday, December 1 at the State Kremlin Palace in Moscow.

A number of high profile figures will be involved in the draw, including the all-time World Cup top scorer Miroslav Klose, who will carry the trophy onto the stage.

One of the eight draw assistants will be Nikita Simonyan, who reached the quarter finals of the 1958 World Cup with the USSR. The remaining seven assistants have yet to be revealed.

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World Cup draw procedure

The 32 qualified finalists will be drawn into eight groups of four, which will be labelled from A to H. Seeding Pots 1 to 4 will be completely emptied by allocating each of their eight teams to a different group.

FIFA confirmed in September that the principle of keeping teams from the same confederation apart would be retained. So, for example, Brazil, who are in Pot 1, cannot be paired with Colombia, who are also part of CONMEBOL (the South American confederation).

An exception applies to UEFA teams, with FIFA ruling that up to two teams from the European confederation can be drawn in the same group.