The stage is almost set for the 2022 World Cup, which begins on November 21 through to the final on December 18 in Qatar.
The pots for Friday’s World Cup finals draw are set after Mexico and the United States booked the final two automatic places on Wednesday.
The United States made sure of its place despite a 2-0 loss at Costa Rica, while Mexico also beat El Salvador 2-0 at home, and both will be in Pot 2.
Canada missed out on a place in Pot 3 after losing 1-0 to Panama and will instead be in Pot 4.
The 32 nations involved in the 2022 World Cup, 29 of which are currently known, will be drawn into eight groups of four. Two of the remaining three spots will be filled by the winners of the Intercontinental Play-offs on 13 or 14 June, with the final berth determined by Path A of the European qualifying play-offs, in which Wales will face off against either Scotland or Ukraine in the final.
The draw will be attended by 2,000 guests and will be led by Carli Lloyd, Jermaine Jenas and Samantha Johnson, assisted by the likes of Cafu (Brazil), Lothar Matthaus (Germany), Adel Ahmed MalAllah (Qatar), Ali Daei (IR Iran), Bora Milutinovic (Serbia/Mexico), Jay-Jay Okocha (Nigeria), Rabah Madjer (Algeria) and Tim Cahill (Australia).
Pot 1 contains the hosts, Qatar, along with strongest seven nations according to the new FIFA World Ranking, which will be officially published on Thursday ahead of the draw.
The other pots are filled in order of the FIFA World Ranking, apart from Pot 4, which contains the five lowest-ranked nations along with the winners of the three remaining playoffs (two intercontinental and the outstanding UEFA path involving Ukraine that are due to be played in June).
Wales or Scotland / Ukraine
Costa Rica or New Zealand
Peru or Australia / United Arab Emirates
How will the draw work?
The draw will start with Pot 1, though it has already been established that Qatar will fill position 1 in Group A to play the opening game of the tournament. Qatar will have a different coloured ball to signify this, and it will be drawn first.
The rest of Pot 1 will then be allocated, one team in each group in alphabetical order through to Group H. The same process is then completed for Pots 2, 3 and 4. Each pot is drawn in its entirety before moving on to the next pot.
But there are some special conditions for the draw;
One team from the four pots will be in each group. Five of the eight groups will have a maximum of two European teams, as 13 qualified. There can be no more than one team from any other confederation. So, for instance, the United States cannot be drawn against Canada, and Brazil is unable to be in a group with Uruguay.
It also means heavyweights Germany and Netherlands will be drawn against a team from Pot 1 and face the strong possibility of a difficult group for the finals.
Mexico narrowly missed out on a place in Pot 1 and would have been seeded had Portugal been knocked out by North Macedonia in the UEFA playoffs.
The draw ceremony will begin at 4 p.m. GMT, midday ET, 7 p.m. local time in Doha, Qatar, on Friday, April 1, 2022.
Story by Kwabena Asante Marfo – KobbyKyeiSports