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Friday, July 27, 2012

2018 FIFA World Cup: 3 years left until the preliminary draw

Next update: July/August 2013.

Assumption: same formats and schedule as for the 2014 FIFA World Cup qualifiers.

Going the 2014 schedule, the 2018 FIFA World Cup preliminary draw will take place around 1 August 2015 and the FIFA ranking used to seed the teams from AFC, CAF and UEFA will be the July 2015 edition, while for the CONCACAF teams the March 2015 ranking will be used.

This means we already have 10% of the final formula (even more for CONCACAF teams), as the 0.2 time frame will close in a couple of days.


First round

Pot 1: Rwanda, Uganda, Congo DR, Kenya, Malawi, Sudan, South Africa, Burundi, Zimbabwe, Liberia, Mozambique, Tanzania, Gambia, Niger
Pot 2: Lesotho, Botswana, Burkina Faso, Madagascar, Seychelles, Guinea-Bissau, Eritrea, Mauritius, Somalia, Swaziland, Djibouti, South Sudan, Comoros, Mauritania

Second round (group stage)

Pot 1: Côte d'Ivoire, Mali, Libya, Zambia, Algeria, Ghana, Sierra Leone, Tunisia, Gabon, Congo
Pot 2: Central African Republic, Egypt, Equatorial Guinea, Angola, Cape Verde Islands, Benin, Morocco, Cameroon, Sao Tome e Principe, Guinea
Pot 3: Chad, Togo, Senegal, Namibia, Nigeria, Ethiopia

Pot 3 and Pot 4 will be completed with the 14 winners of the first round.


For the 2014 FIFA World Cup preliminaries, AFC used the performance based seeding for the first two rounds, then the July 2011 ranking for the group stage draw. This means that if the rules don't change, we already know the seeding for the first two rounds.

First round (performance based)

Pot 1: Bangladesh, Yemen, India, Philippines, Maldives, Myanmar, Syria, Kyrgystan, Hong Kong, Nepal, Laos
Pot 2: Chinese Taipei, Mongolia, Cambodia, Afghanistan, Pakistan, Sri Lanka, Timor-Leste, Macau, Guam, Bhutan, Brunei Darussalam

Second round (performance based)

Pot 1: Worst 5 teams from the 2014 final group stage + Bahrain, China PR, Kuwait, Korea DPR, Saudi Arabia, Thailand, United Arab Emirates, Tajikistan, Singapore, Indonesia
Pot 2: Turkmenistan, Palestine, Malaysia, Vietnam + 11 winners from the first round

Third round (seeded using the FIFA ranking)

Assuming the seeded teams advance, this is how the pots would look like:

Pot 1: Australia, Japan, Korea Republic, Iran, Uzbekistan
Pot 2: Iraq, Korea DPR, China PR, Jordan, Oman
Pot 3: Lebanon, Qatar, Kuwait, Bahrain, Saudi Arabia
Pot 4: United Arab Emirates, Thailand, Tajikistan, Singapore, Indonesia


First round

Pot 1: Grenada, St. Lucia, British Virgin Islands, Cuba, Cayman Islands
Pot 2: Barbados, Anguilla, Dominica, Montserrat, Turks and Caicos Islands

Second round (group stage)

Pot 1: Canada, Guatemala, Honduras, Haiti, Antigua and Barbuda, Bermuda
Pot 2: Trinidad and Tobago, Dominican Republic, Puerto Rico, St. Vincent and the Grenadines, Belize, Aruba
Pot 3: Guyana, Nicaragua, St. Kitts and Nevis, Bahamas, Suriname, Curacao
Pot 4: US Virgin Islands + 5 winners from the first round

Third round (group stage)

Pot 1: Mexico, Panama, USA
Pot 2: Jamaica, Costa Rica, El Salvador
Pot 3: 6 group winners from the second round


Pot 1: Germany, Spain, England, Portugal, Italy, Denmark, Croatia, Czech Republic, Wales
Pot 2: Greece, France, Sweden, Hungary, Switzerland, Republic of Ireland, Estonia, Scotland, Bosnia-Herzegovina
Pot 3: Turkey, Armenia, Poland, Romania, Norway, Ukraine, Latvia, Netherlands, Slovenia
Pot 4: Austria, Serbia, Finland, Belgium, Slovakia, Luxembourg, Albania, FYR Macedonia, Malta
Pot 5: Azerbaijan, Lithuania, Belarus, Iceland, Montenegro, Georgia, Northern Ireland, Bulgaria, Kazakhstan
Pot 6: Cyprus, Liechtenstein, Moldova, Israel, Andorra, Faroe Islands, San Marino

About me:

Christian, husband, father x 3, programmer, Romanian. Started the blog in March 2007. Quit in April 2018. You can find me on LinkedIn.


  1. Great idea to calculate the seedings allready at this point! But Russia will not be in UEFA Pot 1 - they are the hosts and will not play qualification.



  2. Russia will not participate in qualifying round as host nation so:

    Wales would be in Pot 1 !!! :),
    Bosnia-Herzegovina in Pot 2,
    Slovenia in Pot 3,
    Malta in Pot 4 !!! :)
    and Kazakhstan in Pot 5.

  3. Possible Draw:

    Group 1:

    Group 2:
    San Marino



  4. Thanks Thomas! You're right. Fixed it.

  5. I appreciate your work, but this is senseless. These seedings will not surely be this way.
    Your calculation are probaly right, but you are missing enough data for right results.

    1. I disagree. Especially for statistic-freaks like Edgar and myself this is a lot of fun to see how things progress through the years.

      So Edgar, keep up the good work!

    2. Thank you both for your comments. :)

    3. I've gone down this road before too. But Edgar simply does it for pleasure, rather than thinking any accurate predictions will be made at this stage.

  6. Will we have any time soon the updated pots for the UEFA qualifiers? A lot of games have been played since august. Thx...

    1. See here:

      EURO 2016 qualifying draw seeding (19 October 2012)

    2. The pots for the 2018 FIFA World Cup qualifiers will be updated in July/August 2013.

    3. It's September 2013. I'm very curious. I have to look it up but Czech and Wales in pot 1, Netherlands in 3??