2018 World Cup qualifying draw set; USA learns road to Russia
The preliminary draw for the 2018 World Cup in Russia was chosen on Saturday in Saint Petersburg. FIFA president Sepp Blatter and Russia president Vladimir Putin were among those in attendance for the draw.
In the CONCACAF region, the United States was placed in Pot 1 in Group C with Trinidad and Tobago. They will be joined by the winners of St. Vincent/Grenadines vs. Aruba and Antigua and Barbuda vs. Guatemala. The top two in each CONCACAF group will advance to the Hexagonal stage of qualifying.
The fourth-place finisher in CONCACAF's final round will play the fifth-place finisher from Asian qualifying and the Oceania winner will play the fifth-place finisher in a pair of intercontinental playoffs for the final two places in the World Cup. Asia did not have a draw on Saturday, as its World Cup qualifying already started.
Reigning World Cup champion Germany is atop Group C in the European zone, a group that also includes Czech Republic, Northern Ireland, Norway, Azerbaijan and San Marino.
You can find the preliminary draw format for each region below. There is no group system in South America, as each team plays the others home and away.
(Four automatic berths, plus an intercontinental playoff for one more)
Match 1: Curacao vs. El Salvador
Match 2: Canada vs. Belize
Match 3: Grenada vs. Haiti
Match 4: Jamaica vs. Nicaragua
Match 5: St. Vincent / Grenadines vs. Aruba
Match 6: Antigua and Barbuda vs. Guatemala
Winner of Match 1
Winner of Match 2
Winner of Match 3
Winner of Match 4
Trinidad and Tobago
Winner of Match 5
Winner of Match 6
(13 automatic berths - nine group winners; eight second-place teams play a playoff for final four spots)
(Five automatic berths)
(Winner plays in intercontinental playoff)
Papua New Guinea
(No groups; 10-team home-and-home round robin, with top four teams automatically qualifying, fifth going into intercontinental playoff)
The 2018 World Cup will run from June 14, 2018 through July 15, 2018.