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COSTA DO SAUIPE, Brazil (Reuters) - FIFA on Tuesday announced the following pots to be used for Friday's draw for next year's World Cup finals when the 32 teams will be placed into eight first-round groups of four.
Pot 1 consists of the eight top seeds, one of each to be drawn in Groups A-H. The remaining pots are based on geographical criteria.
Hosts Brazil will be allocated position A1 in the draw and will play the opening match in Sao Paulo on June 12.
Pot 1 (top eight seeds): Brazil, Spain, Argentina, Belgium, Colombia, Germany, Switzerland, Uruguay
Pot 2: Ivory Coast, Ghana, Algeria, Nigeria, Cameroon, Chile, Ecuador
Pot 3: Japan, Iran, South Korea, Australia, United States, Mexico, Costa Rica, Honduras
Pot 4: Bosnia, Croatia, England, Greece, Italy, Netherlands, Portugal, Russia, France
Note: A pre-draw will be held to move one of the nine European teams into Pot 2. That European team will then be drawn against one of the four seeded South American teams to preserve the geographical balance of the draw.
The four South American seeds: Brazil, Uruguay, Colombia, Argentina will form a temporary Pot X. The three teams not drawn against the European team in Pot 2 will return to the main draw.
Reporting by Mike Collett, editing by Ed Osmond