World Cup 2018: England drawn with Belgium, Tunisia and Panama – live!

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Powered by Guardian.co.ukThis article titled “World Cup 2018: England drawn with Belgium, Tunisia and Panama – as it happened” was written by Simon Burnton, for theguardian.com on Friday 1st December 2017 16.47 UTC

5.27pm GMT

5.17pm GMT

And here’s the full schedule:

4.54pm GMT

Group A: Russia, Saudi Arabia, Egypt, Uruguay
Group B: Portugal, Spain, Morocco, Iran
Group C: France, Australia, Peru, Denmark
Group D: Argentina, Iceland, Croatia, Nigeria
Group E: Brazil, Switzerland, Costa Rica, Serbia
Group F: Germany, Mexico, Sweden, South Korea
Group G: Belgium, Panama, Tunisia, England
Group H: Poland, Senegal, Colombia Japan

4.47pm GMT

And with that, we’re done. It’s been a blast. I bid you farewell, with a parting gift in the shape of this social media upsum. Bye!

4.44pm GMT

I’ve now updated my little table below following a maths fail spotted by Oli Juliusson:

4.43pm GMT

Potential football/politics crossover alert.

4.41pm GMT

If you ever want to know the time, ask Diego Maradona, for whom one watch is never enough.

Diego Maradona
Diego Maradona holds up the team name of Colombia at the 2018 World Cup draw in Moscow.
Photograph: Ivan Sekretarev/AP

4.38pm GMT

“Found any photos of the models accompanying the guest of honour entrance at the World Cup draw yet?” asks Pete Heskett. In all the excitement I’d nearly forgotten about them:

Diego Maradona
Diego Maradona comes out for the 2018 World Cup draw.
Photograph: Yuri Kochetkov/EPA
Gordon Banks
Gordon Banks comes out for the 2018 World Cup draw.
Photograph: Mladen Antonov/AFP/Getty Images
Diego Forlan
Diego Forlan comes out for the 2018 World Cup draw.
Photograph: Kirill Kudryavtsev/AFP/Getty Images

4.30pm GMT

Gareth Southgate talks to the BBC, first about England’s game against Tunisia at the 1998 World Cup.

It was a fantastic day as a player. Brilliant occasion, incredible atmosphere. Nice to be able to relive that. [how good are they?] We’ve got to find that out now. We haven’t done as much research on the African teams as yet. Now’s the opportunity. We know who we’re playing, where we’re playing, and now we can start to focus in on that.

[Asked about Panama] We’ve been good at writing teams off and then getting beaten by them, haven’t we? We’ve got to make sure we prepare for those games. It’s fantastically exciting to be here for the draw.

It’s been great today, mixing with some of the more experienced coaches in terms of World Cups. It’s nice to have that fresh challenge and I’m really looking forward to it. Travel-wise, the way the tournament is now you’ve got to be adaptable, but kick-off times are decent for us as well. Belgium are an outstanding team. They’re ranked where they are because of the quality of players they’ve got. That is top quality opposition and a great game to prepare for.

We’ve got to focus on the first game and go from there. The objective is to qualify from the group. There’ll be ups and downs along the way I’m sure, and we’ve got to be prepared for all those things.

4.25pm GMT

We have a news story on the draw for you:

4.25pm GMT

World Cup-related pun of the day: “How are teams competing in Russia 2018 supposed to win the ball back quickly,” muses Peter Oh, “when there are such serious restrictions on the free press?”

4.23pm GMT

Our World Cup draw live video chat is worth heading to, if only to witness Paul Doyle’s shirt. You can find it here.

4.22pm GMT

Before the draw talk was that C3 was the worst draw of all, at least in travel terms. Peru have the dubious pleasure. Morocco, AKA B3, are blessed with the best.

4.18pm GMT

And now for something completely different.

4.18pm GMT

Then England would play a team from either Group E or Group F. So there can be no England v Germany semi-final.

4.16pm GMT

Whoever qualifies from England’s group will play either the winner or the runner-up from Poland’s Group H in the round of 16.

4.12pm GMT

It should be said that the way Fifa calculates their coefficients quite savagely punishes teams who play lots of friendlies, and that the ranking of Russia – who haven’t played a competitive international for two years – is thus unfairly low.

4.10pm GMT

So, the groups in order of difficulty, according to Fifa coefficients:

Group E Brazil, Switzerland, Costa Rica, Serbia Ave coefficient: 1069.75
Group F Germany, Mexico, Sweden, South Korea Ave coefficient: 1048.7625
Group C France, Australia, Peru, Denmark Ave coefficient: 1039.3975
Group B Portugal, Spain, Morocco, Iran Ave coefficient: 1031.105
Group D Argentina, Iceland, Croatia, Nigeria Ave coefficient: 986.7075
Group G Belgium, Panama, Tunisia, England Ave coefficient: 957.88
Group H Poland, Senegal, Colombia, Japan Ave coefficient: 948.275
Group A Russia, Saudi Arabia, Egypt, Uruguay Ave coefficient: 700.41

Updated at 4.44pm GMT

4.04pm GMT

This one features rap, opera, and dancing mascots.

4.02pm GMT

Meanwhile, another musical interlude!

4.02pm GMT

I’m just totting up the current Fifa ranking statistics to figure out the inevitable group of death, but aside from Group A and Group H they seem reasonably balanced.

3.56pm GMT

The complete World Cup draw!

Group A Russia, Saudi Arabia, Egypt, Uruguay
Group B Portugal, Spain, Morocco, Iran
Group C France, Australia, Peru, Denmark
Group D Argentina, Iceland, Croatia, Nigeria
Group E Brazil, Switzerland, Costa Rica, Serbia
Group F Germany, Mexico, Sweden, South Korea
Group G Belgium, Panama, Tunisia, England
Group H Poland, Senegal, Colombia, Japan

Groups A, B, C and D.
Groups A, B, C and D.
Photograph: Kai Pfaffenbach/Reuters
Groups E, F, G and H are displayed at the end of the 2018 soccer World Cup draw.
Groups E, F, G and H are displayed at the end of the 2018 soccer World Cup draw.
Photograph: Ivan Sekretarev/AP

Updated at 4.18pm GMT

3.56pm GMT

South Korea then slot into Group F:

Group F Germany, Mexico, Sweden, South Korea

3.55pm GMT

England’s group in full

Panama come out of the hat and aren’t allowed into Group F, and so:

Group G Belgium, Panama, Tunisia, England

3.54pm GMT

Nigeria are next out, so Group D looks like this:

Group D Argentina, Iceland, Croatia, Nigeria

3.53pm GMT

Australia are next out, completing Group C:

Group C France, Australia, Peru, Denmark

3.53pm GMT

Morocco go into Group B, and these are the completed groups so far:

Group A Russia, Saudi Arabia, Egypt, Uruguay
Group B Portugal, Spain, Morocco, Iran
Group E Brazil, Switzerland, Costa Rica, Serbia

3.52pm GMT

Serbia are drawn next, and aren’t allowed into Group B, Group C or indeed Group D, so they become the final team in Brazil’s Group E.

3.52pm GMT

We now know who will compete in the opening game of the 2018 World Cup: it’s Russia v Saudi Arabia.

3.50pm GMT

How the draw looks with one pot to pop

Group A Russia, Egypt, Uruguay
Group B Portugal, Spain, Iran
Group C France, Peru, Denmark
Group D Argentina, Iceland, Croatia
Group E Brazil, Switzerland, Costa Rica
Group F Germany, Mexico, Sweden
Group G Belgium, Tunisia, England
Group H Poland, Senegal, Colombia

3.49pm GMT

Tunisia join England’s group, leaving Senegal to slot into Group H.

3.49pm GMT

Costa Rica go into Group E, and Sweden into Group F with Germany and Mexico.

3.48pm GMT

Iceland take position D2, so will open their campaign against Argentina.

3.47pm GMT

Iran, then, join Spain and Portugal in Group B.

3.46pm GMT

Egypt are added to Group A, and Denmark come out next. They can’t go into Group B, which already has its maximum quota of two European teams, so they go into Group C with France and Peru.

3.44pm GMT

The draw after two pots

So this is how things look so far:

Group A Russia, Uruguay
Group B Portugal, Spain
Group C France, Peru
Group D Argentina, Croatia
Group E Brazil, Switzerland
Group F Germany, Mexico
Group G Belgium, England
Group H Poland, Colombia

Final Draw for the 2018 FIFA World Cup Russia.
Final Draw for the 2018 FIFA World Cup Russia.
Photograph: Matthias Hangst/Bongarts/Getty Images

Updated at 3.51pm GMT

3.43pm GMT

It’s England v Belgium! They will henceforth be known as G4.

3.42pm GMT

England avoid Germany, as Mexico take Pot 2’s place in Group F.

Argentina’s former midfielder Diego Maradona displays the slip of England.
Argentina’s former midfielder Diego Maradona displays the slip of England.
Photograph: Mladen Antonov/AFP/Getty Images

Updated at 3.54pm GMT

3.42pm GMT

Switzerland head into Brazil’s Group E. England, Colombia and Mexico to go.

3.41pm GMT

Peru join France in Group C, and Croatia will face Argentina in Group D.

3.40pm GMT

Spain are plopped into Portugal’s Group B, forming an Iberian supergroup. They take position B2, and get a special round of applause.

3.39pm GMT

Uruguay join Russia in Group A, taking position four.

3.38pm GMT

So, down to real business.

3.37pm GMT

Group E contains Brazil, Group F features Germany, and Group G includes Belgium, which leaves Poland for Group H.

3.36pm GMT

Even though we know as soon as a Pot 1 team is allocated to a group that they will take position one, they are still picking out, opening up and reading out a position one ball for each one of them. Why is this? Why? We could have had five more minutes of folk dancing!

3.34pm GMT

France take first place in Group C, and Argentina slide into Group D.

3.34pm GMT

Portugal are drawn into Group B, in position one (all the Pot 1 teams will be in position one in their respective groups).

3.33pm GMT

Russia are drawn as team A1. We knew this already, but they drew it anyway.

3.32pm GMT

They’re about to start drawing!

3.29pm GMT

Gary Lineker has arrived. Disappointingly he is not wearing a subversive “Blatter Says Relax” T-shirt.

3.28pm GMT

Each assistant is escorted on by a hilariously-costumed woman. I can’t find a picture of one yet, but I promise I’m going to.

3.26pm GMT

The serious business is getting under way, with the draw assistants being introduced (scroll down for full line-up).

3.24pm GMT

It’s finished, sadly. It looked something like this:

3.23pm GMT

I’m not being sarcastic, by the way. This really is great. Oh, and read this quick, before it’s too late. Though I suppose strictly speaking you’ve got six months or so, so no hurry.

3.22pm GMT

This is fabulous. A draw is simply never complete without some folk dancing. It is a tragedy that Sir Bert Millichip never figured this out, I bet that boy could move.

3.20pm GMT

The Moiseyev Ballet is now performing. “Cossack dancing meets street dancing meets, oh, I don’t know,” says Jonathan Pearce.

3.18pm GMT

Sample question: “Tell us Miroslav, just how iconic is this trophy?”

3.18pm GMT

The trophy has arrived! Miroslav Klose brought it on stage. “It’s a wonderful trophy,” he says, during a short interview of astonishing banality. It might have become more interesting in the latter stages, but the BBC ceased translating it for me.

3.15pm GMT

A musical interlude! It’s Alsou, so the non-surprise one. Dirty-haired rocker Nuno Bettencourt is on stage with her.

3.12pm GMT

Vladimir Putin has already spoken, particularly about the way that “friendship and fair play are eternal values”. There was no audible laughter.

Gianni and Vladimir.
Gianni and Vladimir.
Photograph: Pavel Golovkin/AP

Updated at 3.33pm GMT

3.11pm GMT

“The best 32 teams in the world will be here next summer,” says Infantino. Not according to your own rankings, chum.

3.10pm GMT

I’m watching it! Gianni Infantino is talking. “I’m sure that the experience in all the 11 cities will be absolutely amazing for everyone who is coming here next summer,” he says.

3.06pm GMT

OK, so nobody in Britain thinks we want to see the first 15 minutes. I want to see it! Show it to me!

3.00pm GMT

BONG! It’s 3pm GMT, 6pm in Moscow. Showtime.

2.56pm GMT

Is it me, or can you tell – if you’re really eagle-eyed, obviously – which ball is Russia’s here?

2.50pm GMT

Just 10 minutes to go. A bit more pre-draw reading for you:

2.45pm GMT

We still don’t know who will perform the draw’s other song, the one not being sung by Alsou. My knowledge of the Russian popular music scene is far from exhaustive, but please let it be Buranovskiye Babushki.

Updated at 2.47pm GMT

2.41pm GMT

Other useful reading:

2.40pm GMT

Tired of waiting for the draw? Do your own:

2.39pm GMT

Latest: Nigerian broadcaster and journalist wins headgear-of-the-day award:

2018 Fifa World Cup draw
Toyin Ibitoye arrives for the 2018 Fifa World Cup draw.
Photograph: Matthias Hangst/Bongarts/Getty Images

Updated at 2.39pm GMT

2.35pm GMT

It looks very much like every attendee at the draw has been given some kind of World Cup Draw bingo kit.

Park Ji-sung at the World Cup draw
South Korea’s former forward Park Ji-Sung, centre, waits for the start of the 2018 FIFA World Cup draw.
Photograph: Yuri Kadobnov/AFP/Getty Images

2.31pm GMT

Excitement building backstage. There’s a splendid game of Spot the Legend to be had here.

2.13pm GMT

Update: Diego Maradona has located a razor. And a suit. And a comedy bow tie.

Diego Maradona
Diego Maradona and his girlfriend, Rocío Oliva, arrive for the 2018 FIFA World Cup draw.
Photograph: Matthias Hangst/Bongarts/Getty Images

2.10pm GMT

The pots in full:

Pot 1: Russia, Germany, Brazil, Portugal, Argentina, Belgium, Poland, France.
Pot 2: Spain, Peru, Switzerland, England, Colombia, Mexico, Uruguay, Croatia.
Pot 3: Denmark, Iceland, Costa Rica, Sweden, Tunisia, Egypt, Senegal, Iran.
Pot 4: Serbia, Nigeria, Australia, Japan, Morocco, Panama, South Korea, Saudi Arabia.

2.04pm GMT

The red carpet is open, and the big names have started to arrive.

Tomas Brolin at the World Cup draw
Tomas Brolin arrives ahead of the 2018 World Cup draw.
Photograph: Sergei Karpukhin/Reuters

1.59pm GMT

Latest pictures from inside the green room reveal scandal of Russia’s missing razors:

1.56pm GMT

A remarkable statistic: there were a total of 871 matches played in 2018 World Cup qualifying, which works out as 54 days, 10 hours and 30 minutes of qualifying football. Plus stoppages.

1.50pm GMT

You may have missed the unveiling of the new Man of the Match trophy, which took place at the State Kremlin Palace yesterday. “The trophy is awarded to the best football player of each match, who will be selected by fans around the world,” Fifa declared. “Lionel Messi, Cristiano Ronaldo and Neymar are among the high-profile players to have been named Man of the Match in previous Fifa World Cups.” Fifa promised that “a football legend” would be on hand for the unveiling and they were as good as their word, wheeling out none other than David Seaman:

2018 World Cup Man of the Match trophy
Former England goalkeeper David Seaman, left, and former Brazilian full-back Cafu attend a presentation of the 2018 World Cup Man of the Match trophy in Moscow.
Photograph: Pavel Golovkin/AP

I am by nature a cynic, and thus not predisposed to liking garishly branded items of unnecessary footballing nonsense, so my judgement may be clouded a little, but it strikes me that this is a hideously ugly bauble.

5.16pm GMT

Hello world!

And so the day has dawned, when the World Cup ceases to me a notional event involving unknown fixtures scheduled in the distant future and becomes an actual event involving known fixtures scheduled in the distant future. Exciting times. Here’s a run-through of today’s schedule (all times GMT):

11am: Coaches and official delegations attend team seminar to “learn about the key operational aspects” of the World Cup.
1pm: Red carpet opens outside Moscow’s State Kremlin Palace. Famous people start arriving
3pm: Final Draw Show starts
4pm: Final Draw Show ends. Approximately 50% of the Final Draw Show will be taken up by the actual Final Draw.

Final Draw Show who’s who and what’s what

Draw conductors: Gary Lineker and Maria Komandnaya

Gary Lineker at the World Cup draw
Gary Lineker poses with his birthday cake and assorted World Cup draw-related people (from left: Nikita Simonyan, Maria Komandnaya, Laurent Blanc, Gordon Banks, Cafu, Fabiano Cannavaro, Carles Puyol and Diego Forlan).
Photograph: Michael Regan/FIFA via Getty Images

Trophy bearer: Miroslav Klose
Draw assistants:
Nikita Simonyan (91-year-old former USSR striker who played at the 1958 World Cup)
Gordon Banks (World Cup-winner with England in 1966)
Diego Maradona (footballing genius and renowned cheat at both sport and taxes)
Laurent Blanc (French 1998 World Cup-winner and pate-kisser)
Cafu (lung-busting Brazilian wing-hugger and 1994 and 2002 World Cup-winner)
Fabio Cannavaro (captain of Italy’s 2006 champions)
Carles Puyol (hirsute Spaniard) and
Diego Forlán (neither Russian nor a World Cup winner, though he was the joint top scorer in 2010, who presumably received his invite in an administrative mix-up)
Person in giant animal suit: Zabivaka, whose name means “the one who scores” in Russian. “His role goes far beyond simply being popular among spectators,” says semi-professional doping-program denier Vitaly Mutko. “Our Mascot is tasked with inspiring supporters, getting the wider population involved in football and inviting them to the stadiums in order to experience memorable and positive emotions.”

Zabivaka, the 2018 World Cup mascot
The former France defender Marcel Desailly and the 2018 World Cup mascot, Zabivaka.
Photograph: Michael Regan/FIFA via Getty Images

Total number of other performers: 210 (singers, dancers and assorted stage-fillers)
New songs to be performed: Two. “One of them [is] a song about a dream – what happens to someone when they believe in their dream,” says Felix Mikhailov, of Russia’s Channel One. “It will be a night full of surprises.” One of the surprises will be the other song, about which I know nothing whatsoever.
Famous Russian singer: Alsou. “The song I will be performing was written especially for this ceremony,” Alsou said. “It will be performed in Russian and in English. It’s about a dream and believing in oneself, so the song sends the right message so that people never give up.”
Alsou’s final position when she represented Russia in the Eurovision Song Contest: Second, in 2000, when she was only 16 and was beaten only by the Olsen Brothers’ classic Fly on the Wings of Love (for my money one of the great Eurovision winners, and I speak as someone who has totally ignored most of them). Here’s Alsou’s effort in full (featuring original Terry Wogan introduction):

Updated at 1.40pm GMT

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