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Preliminary Draw

Live Blog

19:59

THANK YOU AND GOOD NIGHT!
From all of us here in St. Petersburg, thank you so much for following along with our LIVE coverage from the Konstantin Palace where the Preliminary Draw for the 2018 FIFA World Cup Russia has come to a close.

We hope you enjoyed the show, and be sure to stay on FIFA.com as we continue to bring the latest news and reaction from the Draw Hall as we prepare for an exciting 30 months of football as we make our first steps on the Road to Russia!

СПАСИБО И СПОКОЙНОЙ НОЧИ!

19:53

ROUTES TO RUSSIA 2018 REVEALED
The Preliminary Draw for the 2018 FIFA World Cup Russia™ has taken place at St Petersburg's Konstantin Palace, with Spain-Italy just one of hundreds of tantalising qualifiers left in store.

We've put together a summary of today's events just for you. Read it here!

19:52

TSHABALALA TOE-TO-TOE WITH TWO LEGENDS
Carol Tshabalala clearly enjoyed herself in St. Petersburg at the Preliminary Draw!

19:50
19:48

BRAZIL READY FOR BATTLE IN SOUTH AMERICA
Brazil return to FIFA World Cup qualifying, Chile began it as continental kings for the first time and Argentina start out as the highest-ranked team in the world.

View our preview of the South American preliminaries for Russia 2018.

19:40

SUNDAY ON SUPER EAGLES' DRAW
Nigeria coach Sunday Oliseh told @NGSuperEagles on Twitter he was pleased with the Super Eagles' draw.

"Of course, I am happy with the draw. We are not playing the first round, which is a preliminary round which we knew before the draw. We will also be playing the 1st leg of the second round away which means we have an advantage of playing the more crucial return leg at home, in front of our fans."

19:36

ITALY INTO GROUP G
How do YOU think Italy will fare against their Group G opponents?

19:27

STRACHAN READY FOR SCOTLAND-ENGLAND CLASH
Scotland coach 
Gordon Strachan is relishing the tie against England. He told Sky Sports:

"You see the reaction from the fans, just as the sun came out in Glasgow, we heard we will play England. I can see why (they're celebrating), it's a fantastic fixture.

"We'll look forward (the coaches) and pit our wits again. (The last time the two side's met) England stepped it up a gear and it was a fantastic lesson - they pressurise you and you make mistakes and that's something that sticks with us - and I hope will stick with us (to fire us on).

"The good thing from the supporters point of view is there is no ridiculous journeys. It allows us more time on the training pitch."

19:23

WHAT YOU'RE SAYING
Nearly 90 minutes after the draw FIFA.com users are still hitting the message boards hard! Here are a few of the latest comments.

KingDjeparov

The Netherlands have a very tough group with France and Sweden two very strong teams. Bulgaria could be a bit tricky but Belarus and Luxembourg should be easy games.

by KingDjeparov
Guruprasath

My Favourites are Netherlands,Portugal,Germany,England,Spain,Wales,Belgium

by Guruprasath
19:20

CANNAVARO ON GLI AZZURRI
The Draw Assistant made it clear when he spoke to FIFA.com that Italy's participation at Russia 2018 is nothing short of essential.

"Honestly, as long as Italy is there I'm happy. For us it is very important to be a part of this competition and we will do whatever it takes to be there. All the rest counts for very little."

19:16

DRAW DETAILS
Miss any of the action from the Preliminary Draw earlier? Just click 'SHOW DRAW DETAILS' above the LIVE blog and there you can view the Road to Russia for all six confederations, where 183 teams are fighting for a spot at Russia 2018.

19:15

RONALDO ON BRAZIL
The two-time FIFA World Cup winner spoke out about A Seleção after South America's draw.

"In principle, Brazil will struggle a bit, based on the last matches and an underwhelming performance at the Copa America. However, the qualifiers are also useful to build a strong, tight group aiming towards the main goal, which is the World Cup.

There will be many games and many training camps: it is the time that a head coach needs to prepare a team for the World Cup. From what we have seen over the last few tournaments, it is safe to say that this will be one of the closest qualifiers in recent time. It has always been fierce in South America, but this time the teams are particularly even."

19:13
19:09

ETO'O ON CAMEROON
The Draw Assistant spoke to FIFA.com after the Preliminary Draw and told us how he thinks The Indomitable Lions may do in Russia 2018 qualifying.

"Cameroon’s chances are wide open, like most of the other teams. Now, we know that you may be the favourite and still not make it through. I hope this will not be the case, though, because we have a great team and a group of young players who are willing to write history. I wish them all the luck in the world."

19:05
18:59

HODGSON REACTION
BBC Radio 5 live heard from England manager Roy Hodgson after today's Preliminary Draw:

"I'm pleased to come away with a good group and if England want me to lead the team I will be delighted to do so. If we can come through Euro 2016 without too many tears being shed I believe we have a good chance of qualifying for 2018.

"It is positive, so many other groups would have been more problematic, not least for fans travelling, some are not such easy countries to get to, but we’ve been drawn not only nice places but easy to get to as well."

18:53

CAN ANYONE TOPPLE THE KIWIS?
New Zealand have dominated the last two Oceania qualifying competitions for the FIFA World Cup. Will it be the same again, or can New Caledonia, Tahiti or another underdog spring a surprise?

We preview Oceania's qualifiers here!

18:52

SHOP 'TIL YOU DROP
Get exclusive Preliminary Draw gear from our Official FIFA Online Store.

Look for a special code to save 10% on your order!

18:33

WHAT YOU'RE SAYING
Here are a few more FIFA.com user comments, reflecting on the Preliminary Draw.

lydsgn

Great but difficult draw for The Netherlands.. Let's play the games!!

by lydsgn
JumJum7

My group favourites in Europe are Netherlands, Switzerland, Germany, Wales, Romania, England, Italy, Belgium

by JumJum7
18:32
Mkbw50

Brilliant draw for England and England VS Scotland promises to be a classic. Let's hope the Three Lions roar!

by Mkbw50
ericvg16

For the U.S. draw, I feel pretty good. I think Saint Vincent and the Grenadines and Guatemala get through. Belgium has a mixed blessing for me. They have a five-team group, that may help them, but it's a tough group. Still, to be the best, you have to play the best, right?

by ericvg16

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