FIFA shakes up World Cup draw method

All four pots for the World Cup finals will be determined by FIFA world ranking, the governing body has decided.

The World Cup trophy   -  Getty Images

FIFA has confirmed all four pots for the 2018 World Cup finals draw will be allocated based on the governing body's world rankings.

The move represents a change from previous editions, where only Pot 1 was determined by teams' positions in the standings with the remaining grouped by Confederations.

But the decision taken by the Organising Committee for FIFA Competitions means all 32 teams will be seeded based on their positions in the October rankings.

FIFA, though, will continue to insist no more than one Confederation is in a single group.

Host Russia will be automatically seeded in Pot 1 alongside the other top-seven nations, while Brazil's spot is also guaranteed given it has already qualified and is guaranteed to be ranked in the top seven.

Germany, Argentina and Portugal will also take a place in the main group should it qualify, but the race to join that quintet looks set to go down to the wire.

Pot 2 looks set to be equally strong, with England, France, Spain and Italy among those likely to be involved.