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2018 World Cup draw: Live thread

Die Mannschaft ist Titelverteidiger!

Northern Ireland v Germany - FIFA 2018 World Cup Qualifier Photo by Charles McQuillan/Getty Images

Thirty-two teams with one dream. It’s draw time for the 2018 FIFA World Cup, which will be held in Russia next summer.

Germany, with its virtuoso performance at the 2014 FIFA World Cup in Brazil, is the defending champion and looking to become the first team since Brazil in 1958 and 1962 to repeat as champions. If it secures back-to-back wins, Germany can also equal Brazil in most all-time titles with five.

Russia, as the host country, along with Germany, Brazil, Portugal, Argentina, Belgium, Poland and France are seeded for the draw as the highest-ranked teams in the FIFA/Coca-Cola World Ranking in October 2017.

Four pots of eight teams each will be emptied one by one and teams will be placed across eight groups of four teams (Groups A to H). Host nation Russia will occupy the top position in Group A, while the seven other seeded countries from pot 1 will occupy the top spots in Groups B to H. The positions of all the other teams (from pots 2, 3 and 4) will be decided when they are drawn. With the exception of UEFA, which has more qualifiers (14) than there are groups (eight), no teams from the same confederation can be drawn in the same group.

Former England forward, and current BBC presenter Gary Lineker, the Golden Boot winner at Mexico 1986, will conduct the draw with the support of Russian sports journalist Maria Komandnaya. They will be assisted by Laurent Blanc (France), Gordon Banks (England), Cafu (Brazil), Fabio Cannavaro (Italy), Diego Forlan (Uruguay), Diego Maradona (Argentina), Carles Puyol (Spain) and Nikita Simonyan (Russia). Missing: Someone from Germany!

Location: State Kremlin Palace, Moscow

Time: 6 pm local time, 10 am EST

Groups: TBA

TV/Streaming: USA (Telemundo, FOX Soccer Match Pass, UNIVERSO NOW, Fox Sports 1 USA,Univision Deportes USA, beIN SPORTS en Español, FOX Sports GO, fuboTV, beIN SPORTS CONNECT U.S.A., FOX Deportes, Telemundo Deportes En Vivo, Futbol de Primera Radio, UNIVERSO), Germany (ORF eins, SRF zwei, ZDF, ORF TV Live), Canada (TSN3, RDS GO, beIN SPORTS CONNECT Canada, TSN GO, TSN1, TSN4, TSN5,RDS, beIN SPORTS en Español)

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