World Cup

World Cup 2018 pots: Who could England, Germany and Brazil draw in the group stage?

13:05 EAT 01/12/2017
Harry Kane England
The biggest football tournament in the world is just a few months away, but the groups will soon be known

The draw for the 2018 World Cup takes place in Russia on December 1 and all the participants are anxiously awaiting their fate.

A total of 32 teams will have their names thrown into the proverbial hat at the State Kremlin Palace in Moscow, but it is not just a straight open draw.

Germany 5/1 favs to lift World Cup

Teams are divided into seeding pots, which has the effect of keeping teams of the same level apart at the first stage of the finals.

The ins and outs of the pots and group stage draw can be a little complicated, but Goal has broken it down.


The 32 teams that have qualified for the World Cup will be divided into four pots for the purposes of the draw.

Each pot contains eight teams ranked according to their FIFA ranking for October 2017 and teams in the same pot cannot be drawn against one another in the group stage.

As tournament hosts, Russia automatically assume a berth in Pot 1 regardless of their FIFA ranking and they are joined by the seven highest ranked teams.

Pot 2 contains the next eight highest ranked nations, the next eight go into Pot 3 and the eight lowest ranked teams are in Pot 4.

A general principle of the draw is that teams from the same confederation cannot be drawn together in the groups. So, for example, Brazil cannot be drawn with Colombia and Nigeria cannot be drawn with Senegal.

However, an exception applies to UEFA teams, with each group allowed a maximum of two teams from the European confederation.

You can watch FIFA's very own explainer video below.

World Cup 2018 pots

FIFA world ranking in brackets

Pot 1 Pot 2 Pot 3 Pot 4
Russia (Hosts) Spain (8) Denmark (19) Serbia (38)
Germany (1) Peru (10) Iceland (21) Nigeria (41)
Brazil (2) Switzerland (11) Costa Rica (22) Australia (43)
Portugal (3) England (12) Sweden (25) Japan (44)
Argentina (4) Colombia (13) Tunisia (28) Morocco (48)
Belgium (5) Mexico (16) Egypt (30) Panama (49)
Poland (6) Uruguay (17) Senegal (32) South Korea (62)
France (7) Croatia (18) Iran (34) Saudi Arabia (63)


England are in Pot 2, meaning that they will be drawn in a group with one team from each of Pots 1, 3 and 4.

Since they are in Pot 2, England cannot be drawn against Spain, Switzerland, Colombia, Mexico, Uruguay, Croatia or Peru. That's the good news for Gareth Southgate and his side. 

The bad news is that they could potentially find themselves in a group with Brazil, Argentina, France, Belgium, Poland, Portugal, Russia or - whisper it - Germany. Of those eight, Poland are perhaps the most attractive prospect for the Three Lions.

Since they are a UEFA representative, England can only be drawn with one other team from the confederation. So if they draw any one of the six UEFA teams in Pot 1, they cannot be drawn against another from Pot 3.

You can use the table above to have a look at some potential draws.


Brazil are attempting to win a record sixth World Cup when they travel to Russia next summer, but they will have to first get out of their group.

Neymar and co. will be in Pot 1 - among the highest seeds - and that means they cannot be drawn against Russia, Germany, Portugal, Belgium, Poland, France or Argentina.

They will be grouped along with one team from Pots 2, 3 and four, but they cannot be drawn against another South American team.

That means in Pot 2 they will avoid Peru, Colombia and Uruguay. However, they can potentially be drawn with Spain, Switzerland, England, Mexico or Croatia.

Our table above lists each seeding pot out and you can take a look at that to see what possible draws lie in store for the Canarinho.


Germany enter the draw for the 2018 World Cup as champions and they will have the sights set on winning the competition for a record-equalling fifth time.

Joachim Low's side are in Pot 1 for the draw, meaning they avoid the likes of Brazil, Portugal, Argentina, France, Belgium, Poland and hosts Russia.

However, Pot 2 contains Spain, Colombia, Croatia, Switzerland, Uruguay, Mexico, Peru and their long-time rivals England.

Since Germany are a UEFA representative, they can only be drawn against one other team from the European confederation.

So, for example, if they are drawn against England, they cannot subsequently be drawn along with Denmark, Iceland or Sweden in Pot 3 or Serbia in Pot 4.

One potential grouping for Germany is: England, Costa Rica and Nigeria. Another is: Colombia, Denmark and Australia. You can take a look at the seeding table above to see possible groups.