Everyone is arriving for a World Cup draw which takes place in over an hour and a half.
Russia will host the 2018 World Cup draw in the next few hours, the glittering ceremony providing a welcome distraction to the unrelenting diet of doping and corruption news that has sullied the nation’s sporting reputation in recent years.
The draw ceremony gives Russia the chance to showcase the cities and stadiums that will host the 32 teams next June and July. Former England striker Gary Lineker, the 1986 World Cup’s Golden Boot winner as leading goalscorer, and Russian sports journalist Maria Komandnaya are the main presenters.
In a new simplified format, the teams will be placed in pots one to four from highest to lowest FIFA ranking with the exception of Russia, the lowest-ranked team in the tournament, who are automatically in pot one alongside the top seeds.
Each pot will be emptied one by one into eight groups which will contain four teams each. Two non-European teams from the same confederation cannot be in the same group to avoid geographic clashes.
With 14 qualified European teams there cannot be more than two European teams in the same group.
“Really to be honest, if you are going to win the World Cup, it doesn’t matter who comes out of that draw,” draw assistant Gordon Banks, who won the 1966 World Cup with England, told reporters on Thursday at the Kremlin.
“Because you’ve got to get out there and you’ve got to play the best you can. Play as a team and keep going, and that’s what we did when we won it.”
Below are pictures of some of retired football stars:
— Cafu. (@officialcafu) December 1, 2017