The draw for the qualifying stages of the 2006 FIFA World Cup takes place on Friday
The draw for the qualifying stages of the 2006 FIFA World Cup takes place in Frankfurt on Friday afternoon.
Europe will be the last confederation to be drawn and the 51 national associations will be split into eight groups to battle it out for the thirteen qualifying places.
There will be three groups of seven teams and five groups of six. As usual, the groups will be based on a league system of home and away matches with the eight groups winners guaranteed qualification for the Finals.
The two best-placed runners-up will also qualify with the remaining six drawn against each other in play-offs to determine the last three qualifiers.
The 51 countries are classified on the basis of the results in the qualifying competitions for the 2002 World Cup and Euro 2004.
England are seeded in Pot A along with France, Portugal, Sweden, Czech Republic, Spain, Italy and Turkey.
Due to greater number of international club competition commitments, England, France, Italy and Spain will definately be drawn into six team groups.
The draw starts with Pot G and ends with Pot A. Each pot is entirely emptied before proceeding to the next pot. The teams are allocated in the order in which they are drawn into Groups 1 to 8 starting in their respective position (see below):
Teams in Pot G are drawn into Groups 1 to 3 and placed in position 7 in each group, starting with Group 1.
Then, the 8 teams in Pot F are drawn into the 8 groups and placed in position 6 in each group, starting with Group 1.
The same procedure applies to Pots E to B taking into consideration the respective position within the respective group.
The 8 teams in Pot A are drawn into the eight groups and placed in position 1 in each group, starting with Group 1.
When England, France, Italy and Spain are drawn, they will be placed in Groups 4 to 8, starting with Group 4.
Germany have automatically qualified as hosts.