Fifa has confirmed that all four pots for the 2018 World Cup finals draw will be allocated based on the governing body’s world rankings.
The move represents a change from previous editions, where only Pot 1 was determined by teams’ positions in the standings, with the remainder grouped by Confederations.
But the decision taken by the organising committee for Fifa competitions means all 32 teams will be seeded based on their positions in the October rankings.
Fifa, though, will continue to insist no more than one Confederation is in a single group.
Hosts Russia will be automatically seeded in Pot 1 alongside the other top-seven nations, while Brazil’s spot is also guaranteed, given that they have already qualified and are guaranteed to be ranked in the top seven.
Germany, Argentina and Portugal will also take their places in the main group should they qualify, but the race to join that quintet looks set to go down to the wire.
Pot 2 looks set to be equally strong, with England, France, Spain and Italy among those likely to be involved.
-This story originally appeared on FourFourTwo.co.za