The qualifiers are done, the playoffs too, and now it is time for the first key event in the build-up to next summer's World Cup in Russia – the Draw. The State Kremlin Palace inside the Moscow Kremlin is the venue for the draw, which will take place on Friday, 1 December.
A total of 32 teams have qualified for the finals, that takes place between 14 June and 15 July, which include some surprises in terms of the teams that have qualified, but more so the teams that failed to make the cut. The most notable absentees are four-time winners Italy, three-time finalists Netherlands, South American Copa America champions Chile, the United States, and African giants Cameroon and Ghana.
The qualified teams have been drawn into four pots based on their world ranking and will be placed in eight groups with four teams each. Russia, as hosts, will be placed in Group A. The other top seeds in Pot One are – Germany, Brazil, Portugal, Argentina, Belgium, Poland and France.
England are in Pot Two for the draw. Gareth Southgate's team went unbeaten in the qualifiers but are not among the favourites going into the tournament.
Brazil, Germany, France and Spain have been installed as the initial favourites, but the latter could come up against one of the aforementioned trio in the group stages as they are also in Pot 2 along with the Three Lions.
Where to watch live
The World Cup draw will be broadcast live in over 100 countries across the globe. The event starts at 6pm local time. In the UK, the event will begin at 3pm and will be broadcast live on BBC and ITV. The draw can be followed online via the official Fifa website.
The draw will be hosted by 1986 Mexico World Cup Golden Boot winner Gary Lineker, alongside Russian sports journalist Maria Komandnaya. The duo will be assisted by eight giants of the game – Laurent Blanc, Gordon Banks, Cafu, Fabio Cannavaro, Diego Forlan, Diego Maradona, Carles Puyol and Nikita Simonyan.