Europe's World Cup qualifying draw seeds

Holders Germany are joined by Belgium, Netherlands, Portugal, Romania, England, Wales, Spain and Croatia in Pot 1 for Saturday's FIFA World Cup qualifying draw.

Wales and Belgium are both in Pot 1
Wales and Belgium are both in Pot 1 ©Getty Images

The seedings for the European 2018 FIFA World Cup qualifying draw on Saturday have been confirmed.

Europe's 52 hopefuls (all UEFA national associations except automatically qualified hosts Russia and non-FIFA members Gibraltar) have been split into six pots, based on the July FIFA world rankings. The draw ceremony, which involves all of FIFA's continental confederations, will be held at Konstantinovsky Palace in St Petersburg, starting at 17.00CET.

Pot 1: Germany (holders), Belgium, Netherlands, Portugal, Romania, England, Wales, Spain, Croatia

Pot 2: Slovakia, Austria, Italy, Switzerland, Czech Republic, France, Iceland, Denmark, Bosnia and Herzegovina

Pot 3: Ukraine, Scotland, Poland, Hungary, Sweden, Albania, Northern Ireland, Serbia, Greece

Pot 4: Turkey, Slovenia, Israel, Republic of Ireland, Norway, Bulgaria, Faroe Islands, Montenegro, Estonia

Pot 5: Cyprus, Latvia, Armenia, Finland, Belarus, FYR Macedonia, Azerbaijan, Lithuania, Moldova

Pot 6: Kazakhstan, Luxembourg, Liechtenstein, Georgia, Malta, San Marino, Andorra

Bye to finals: Russia (hosts)

Germany will defend the trophy they won in Brazil
Germany will defend the trophy they won in Brazil©AFP/Getty Images

Format
• The 52 entrants will be drawn into seven groups of six teams and two of five.

• The nine group winners advance directly to the final tournament.

• The eight runners-up with the best record against the teams first, third, fourth and fifth in their groups proceed to play-offs to decide the remaining four European berths.

Draw procedure
Six seeding pots will be formed as per the FIFA world rankings for July 2015 published early in the month (June rankings).

• All groups will contain one team from each of the top five seeding pots. Each of the seven sides in the sixth pot will be allocated to a six-team group.

• Due to the centralisation of media rights for European Qualifiers, England, France, Germany, Italy, Spain and the Netherlands will all be drawn into six-team groups. They may be placed in the same group if they are in different seeding pots.

• The fixture list will be confirmed on Sunday.

Continental allocations
Africa: 5
Asia: 4.5
Europe: 13
North, Central America and Caribbean: 3.5
Oceania: 0.5
South America: 4.5
Hosts: 1 (Russia)

Qualifying is centralised as for UEFA EURO
Qualifying is centralised as for UEFA EURO©UEFA.com

Dates
Matchday 1: 4–6 September 2016
Matchday 2: 6–8 October 2016
Matchday 3: 9–11 October 2016
Matchday 4: 11–13 November 2016
Matchday 5: 24–26 March 2017
Matchday 6: 9–11 June 2017
Matchday 7: 31 August–2 September 2017
Matchday 8: 3–5 September 2017
Matchday 9: 5–7 October 2017
Matchday 10: 8–10 October 2017
Play-off first leg: 9–11 November 2017
Play-off second leg: 12–14 November 2017
Final tournament (Russia): 14 June–15 July 2018

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