Live updates: 2018 Russia World Cup draw

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Komandnaya is one of the most recognizable faces in Russian sports journalism, who most recently covered the 2017 Confederations Cup in the country over the summer.

Two recent ever-presents of African football, Ivory Coast and Ghana, also failed to emerge from an arduous qualifying campaign. The financial package will be used mainly to strengthen and improve the technical supervision of each team.

Nothing particularly embarrassing here, but the 2002 world cup draw in Yokohama is worth a mention only because it almost descended into self-parody.

The 2018 World Cup Draw was held today.

Meanwhile, Russia is in Group A, a group that is being described as "The Group of Life", due to the lack of a dominant team.

The qualifiers have been allocated according to the Fifa World Rankings in all four pots.

Mutko vehemently denied the existence of state-backed doping in Russia and said the country was being unfairly targeted by international sports authorities.

The latter, of course, is synonymous with Italia 90 - when football fans of a certain age hear Nessun Dorma they get a warm, fuzzy feeling inside.

Since appointing Tite as manager, however, Brazil has flourished and appears to have gotten a tame group, given Switzerland, Costa Rica and Serbia in Group E.

The worst case scenario for Southgate would be for England to draw Germany, Egypt and Serbia. Spain and Portugal will be heavy favorites to advance out of Group B.

So, for example, the seven top-ranked teams that qualified, plus Russia, are in pot 1 and the next highest-ranked eight are in pot 2 and so forth, ending with the lowest ranked eight in pot four. 4 when it's their group's turn to be completed. With El Tri's streak at Round of 16 eliminations at six tournaments in a row, the potential Round of 16 matchups also are significant. But they shouldn't be discounted as easy fodder, since Iceland reached the quarterfinals at Euro 2016 after beating England. "We'd like opponents who like to develop play, who bet on possession".

It will take place from 3pm (UK time), live and direct from the Kremlin. "We are playing by the rules". Of course, it can be signalled, by heating or cooling them.

But all of the host cities have their attractions and all are well connected by air, train and road from Moscow.

"This is going to be a really exciting period".

This story will update as each team is selected.