Watch the 2018 World Cup preliminary draw live stream free from the Konstantin Palace in St. Petersburg, Russia, to see how FIFA will group the different teams participating in the biggest football event in the world.
Five of the six confederations that are set to participate in the 2018 World Cup qualifiers will find out who their rivals will be on Saturday. The preliminary draw will be telecast live from the stunning Konstantin Palace in St. Petersburg.
The European Confederation will be placed in six groups of seven teams and two groups of five teams, according to FIFA rankings. The teams will play each other at home and away between September 4, 2016 and October 10, 2017.
UEFA has requested continental superpowers and World Cup title winners such as Germany, England, France, Spain, and Italy be placed in different groups. Group winners will automatically qualify, while the best eight second-place teams will go to a playoff round beginning November 2017. As the host, Russia will not go through this process.
If you watch the 2018 World Cup preliminary draw live stream free from St. Petersburg, you will see how FIFA will place the Africa confederation. The teams will be divided into two groups of 13 teams, where the 26 lower-ranked teams will compete. The winners will then play in a second group made up of 27 higher-ranked nations, FIFA said.
Two-leg playoff games follows before “five groups of four teams will meet both home and away. The winner of each group will qualify for Russia 2018.” A much more complicated process than European teams will go through.
As for CONCACAF teams, a much smaller confederation, they will play in the third round of their qualifiers, made up of five two-legged ties. Favorites such as Mexico and the U.S. will wait for the winners of these matches in Round 4.
Following this stage teams will end up in three groups. These matches will be played between November 2015 and September 2016 followed by Round 5.
Watch the 2018 World Cup preliminary draw live stream free from St. Petersburg to find out how South American teams will be divided. Ten teams will play in one group — the order of play determined by the draw — with a provision concerning superpowers Argentina and Brazil.
“To ensure that no team has to play both Argentina and Brazil on any double matchday, these teams have been seeded and automatically positioned as Team 4 and Team 5 respectively.”
The best four teams in the group will qualify automatically, while the fifth place finisher will enter an inter-confederation play-off. Teams from Oceania will play three rounds, which will start with lower-ranked teams.
Watch the 2018 World Cup preliminary draw live stream free from St. Petersburg, Russia, here starting at 11 a.m. ET.
[Photo by Clive Mason/Getty Images]