Rio de Janeiro’s Marina da Gloria will provide the setting for the Preliminary Draw of the 2014 FIFA World Cup Brazil™ on 30 July. And as you might expect of a country that has been crowned world champions five times, the host nation has lined up some famous names to help the show go with a swing.
The national teams of 166 member associations from five qualification zones – Africa, Asia, Europe, CONCACAF and Oceania – will go into the hat. No draw will be necessary for the CONMEBOL Zone, however, where teams face each other in a round-robin group.
Ten Brazilian players from different generations have been selected to assist FIFA General Secretary Jerome Valcke with the draw in each of the five regions.
Cafu, Neymar take care of Africa
The groups in the African Zone will be drawn by none other than Cafu, the captain of the team that conquered the world at Korea/Japan 2002, and the country’s latest sensation Neymar, a very strong candidate to make the Brazil squad for the big event in 2014.
Lending a hand with the Asian Zone will be Zico, a legendary figure with very strong ties to the continent, having played and coached in Japan before taking charge of the Japan side that appeared at Germany 2006. Supporting him will be another new boy with a bright future, Sao Paulo’s Lucas, who has broken into the national set-up.
Bebeto, Bastos in charge of *North, Centralamerica and Caribbean Zone*
Two great players will decide the fate of the North, Centralamerica and Caribbean Zone: Bebeto, a world champion at USA 1994, and the 21-year-old Fellipe Bastos, one of Vasco da Gama’s outstanding performers in their 2011 Brazilian Cup triumph.
A world champion as a player at Sweden 1958 and Chile 1962, and then as a coach at Mexico 1970 and as an assistant at USA 1994, national institution Mario Zagallo will be drawing names out of the hat in the Oceania Zone together with Lucas Piazon, one of the stars of the Seleçãozinha that has just finished fourth at the FIFA U-17 World Cup Mexico 2011.
O Fenomeno assists with Europe
Finally, Santos' and Seleção’s star playmaker Paulo Henrique Ganso will be joined in making the European draw by one of the greatest finishers of them all: Ronaldo Luiz Nazario de Lima, O Fenomeno.
The eyes of the world will be on Brazil at the end of this month, as they will on many occasions in the next few years. And with so many stars of the past, present and future of Brazilian football on display, the Preliminary Draw is sure be a glittering occasion.