Italy have been placed in Pot Four for Friday’s World Cup draw in Bahia, FIFA have confirmed today.
The Azzurri are one of nine European teams in the pot, but one of those sides will be drawn as a pot two team for the group stage draw later this week.
It means that two teams from Pot Four can now be drawn in the same group. That group will not contain seeds Belgium, Germany, Spain or Switzerland due to competition rules stating that no more than two teams from any one confederation can feature in the same group.
There will be eight groups, A to H, drawn for the competition, each with four nations, and these will be drawn from four separate pots which today the tournament and world game’s governing body FIFA have unveiled.
As previously known, the top seeds for the competition, based on FIFA World Rankings from October make up Pot One for the draw.
These countries will be drawn first, one into each group and they will also automatically be allocated top spot in that group.
Then, Pots Two, Three and Four will be drawn in order and the final positions in each group - which determine order of play with opponents - will also be settled.
One novelty to the draw is that Pot Two only holds seven countries to begin with, and Pot Four holds nine - FIFA will hold a pre-draw to select one team from the nine European nations that make up Pot Four, to place them into Pot Two.
To maintain geographical balance to the draw, that European team entering Pot Twp will then be drawn into a group with one of Pot One’s four South American teams. This will be determined through creation of a temporary Pot X - the remaining three nations not drawn against the European team from Pot Two will return to the main draw.
All South American teams split between Pots One and Two will also be kept apart.
So were Italy to be placed in Pot Two, they would have to face Brazil, Argentina, Colombia or Uruguay from pot one.
Pot One: Argentina, Brazil, Belgium, Colombia, Germany, Spain, Switzerland, Uruguay
Pot Two: Algeria, Cameroon, Chile, Côte d’Ivoire, Ecuador, Ghana, Nigeria
Pot Three: Australia, Costa Rica, Honduras, Iran, Japan, Korea Republic, Mexico, USA
Pot Four: Bosnia-Herzegovina, Croatia, England, France, Greece, Italy, Netherlands, Portugal, Russia