World Cup seeds confirmed
England in pot one
By Graeme Bailey - Tweet me: @skygraemebailey. Last Updated: 27/07/11 6:45pm
The seedings ahead of the World Cup draw on Saturday have been confirmed.
And as expected England have been confirmed in pot one, of the other home nations Scotland and Northern Ireland are in pot four, whilst Wales find themselves in lowest selection in pot six.
World Cup draw seedings:
Spain, Holland, Germany, England, Portugal, Italy, Croatia, Norway, Greece
France, Montenegro, Russia, Sweden, Denmark, Slovenia, Turkey, Serbia, Slovakia
Switzerland, Israel, Republic of Ireland, Belgium, Czech Republic, Bosnia-Herzegovina, Belarus, Ukraine, Hungary
Bulgaria, Romania, Georgia, Lithuania, Albania, Scotland, Northern Ireland, Austria, Poland
Armenia, Finland, Estonia, Cyprus, Latvia, Moldova, Macedonia, Azerbaijan, Faroe Islands
Wales, Liechtenstein, Iceland, Kazakhstan, Luxembourg, Malta, Andorra, San Marino
France, though, find themselves in pot two, along with the likes of Russia and Sweden.
The pot allocations are based on the Fifa world rankings, and the latest standings were announced on Wednesday, with Fabio Capello's England down two places to sixth. France currently stand 15th.
Giovanni Trapattoni's Republic of Ireland are in pot three, while Scotland and Northern Ireland are in pot four.
Wales' recent struggles are reflected in their placing in pot six, alongside the likes of San Marino, Malta and Andorra. The Faroe Islands are in pot five, and are level in 112th place with Wales in the Fifa rankings.
Meanwhile, Fifa announced that the 2014 World Cup finals will start on June 12 and finish on July 13.
The announcement comes three days before the preliminary draw for the tournament, comprising 203 teams playing an eventual 824 matches across the globe.
At a news conference in Rio, Fifa president Sepp Blatter also announced that a decision whether to introduce goalline technology would be taken at next March's meeting in London of the International FA Board, the game's lawmakers.
If approved, he said, it could be implemented at the World Cup finals two years later.
Fifa also announced that the World Cup play-off system, heavily criticised after Thierry Henry's infamous handball for France against Ireland, would be maintained.
With 53 European countries entered in the World Cup qualifying draw, which will take place in Rio de Janeiro, teams will be drawn in eight groups of six teams and one group of five.
Each group winner will automatically qualify for the finals in Brazil, and four places will also be available via play-offs, making up a 13-team European contingent.
Despite their lacklustre form in recent tournaments, France will be the team most will want to avoid, given they are proving a stronger unit under coach Laurent Blanc and have made a strong start to their Euro 2012 qualifying campaign.
England were beaten 2-1 by France in a friendly at Wembley in November, a reminder of the threat posed by the country which celebrated a World Cup win on home soil in 1998 and European Championship triumph two years later.
Pot one also contains world and European champions Spain, Holland, Germany, Portugal, Italy, Croatia, Norway and Greece, with the remainder of pot two made up by Montenegro - the team who held England to a goalless draw at Wembley last October - plus Denmark, Slovenia, Turkey, Serbia and Slovakia.