World Cup lowdown

Our Andy Schooler brings you all you need to know about the World Cup finals with all 32 qualifiers now decided.

Last Updated: 03/12/13 at 11:44 Post Comment

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With the 32 World Cup qualifiers now decided, thoughts are beginning to turn to next month's draw and, indeed, next year's finals.

Our Andy Schooler brings you all you need to know about Brazil 2014.

QUALIFIERS

The 32 teams who will compete in Brazil include Bosnia-Herzegovina, who will be making their debut in the finals.

The full list of qualifiers is:

Europe: Belgium, Bosnia-Herzegovina, Croatia, England, France, Germany, Greece, Italy, Netherlands, Portugal, Russia, Spain, Switzerland

South America: Argentina, Brazil (hosts), Chile, Colombia, Ecuador, Uruguay

Africa: Algeria, Cameroon, Ghana, Ivory Coast, Nigeria

Asia: Australia, Iran, Japan, South Korea

North & Central America/Caribbean: Costa Rica, Honduras, Mexico, USA

FINALS DRAW

The draw for next summer's World Cup finals takes place on Friday December 6 in Costa do Sauipe at 1600 GMT.

England will not be among the seeds so could be drawn in the same group as hosts Brazil or holders Spain.

As hosts, Brazil were automatically seeded and have already been placed in Group A, taking spot A1 in the draw. Spain, Germany, Argentina, Colombia, Belgium, Switzerland and Uruguay have also been seeded on the basis of their FIFA ranking.

Joining England as non-seeds are traditional football powerhouses Italy, Netherlands and France.

With teams to be placed into eight groups of four, the draw will see the qualifiers split into four pots with the seeds in pot A.

The other pots - B, C and D - will be determined upon "sports and geographic factors". For example, two sides from Africa will not be allowed to be drawn in the same group so all the African qualifiers will likely be in the same pot. The exact make-up of these pots will be decided at a meeting of FIFA's World Cup Organising Committee on December 3.

WHEN AND WHERE

The finals themselves take place in Brazil from Thursday June 12 to Sunday July 13 next year.

With kick-off times ranging from 1700 BST to 0200 BST, UK-based fans will be in for some late nights. However, the majority of games start at either 1700 BST or 2100 BST, while the final is a 2000 BST kick-off.

Matches will take place at 12 venues around the country - Belo Horizonte, Brasilia, Cuiaba, Curitiba, Fortaleza, Manaus, Natal, Porto Alegre, Recife, Rio de Janeiro, Salvador and Sao Paulo.

The opening game, which will feature the hosts, will take place in Sao Paulo, with the final in Rio's Maracana stadium - the biggest of the grounds with a capacity of 73,531.

BETTING

Hosts Brazil, who won the Confederations Cup on home soil this summer, are Sky Bet's 100/30 favourites at present.

Germany are the second favourites at 5/1, while holders Spain are offered at 11/2, the same price as Argentina.

England are joint eighth favourites at 25/1, the same price as Colombia, Uruguay and France. Those odds put them behind Belgium (16/1), Italy (16/1) and the Netherlands (18/1) in the betting.

The full list of odds is available on Sky Bet's website.

BUILD-UP

More friendlies are scheduled for March 5. England will host Denmark, who failed to qualify for the finals, at Wembley on that date. That game will be Roy Hodgson's last chance to assess his players before naming his 30-man squad for Brazil.

The qualifiers will all play warm-up games between May 26 and June 11 to fine-tune their preparations for Brazil. Hodgson's men are due to play a game at Wembley before crossing the Atlantic, while a USA v England clash in that period has already been mooted.

TICKETS

Almost 1.1million tickets for the tournament have already been sold.

For those still fancying a trip to Brazil, the sale process will reopen on December 8 - two days after the draw has been made - when tickets to all matches will be sold using a ballot system.

Members of the official England supporters' club, englandfans, will be able to apply for tickets for England's games via the FA once the draw for the finals has been conducted.

Full details of ticketing can be found on FIFA's website.

SQUADS

Each country will be able to take a 23-man squad to Brazil. These must be named by June 2.

Before then, the finalists must give FIFA a 30-man list by May 13 - two days after the Premier League season finishes. The final 23 must be chosen from this list.

Replacements can only be made after the deadline due to injury and such a change must be approved by FIFA. This happened in the England camp prior to the last World Cup when Rio Ferdinand was injured in training and was replaced by Michael Dawson.


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