News / Americas

Heat is On as FIFA Announces Convoluted Draw Procedure

Miniature model of the National Stadium on display during preparations to host 2014 soccer World Cup, Brasilia, Brazil, April 1, 2013.
Miniature model of the National Stadium on display during preparations to host 2014 soccer World Cup, Brasilia, Brazil, April 1, 2013.
Reuters
FIFA will go ahead with its controversial decision to stage World Cup matches at midday in tropical venues, president Sepp Blatter said on Tuesday as soccer's governing body announced a bafflingly complex procedure for Friday's draw.
 
General Secretary Jerome Valcke caused general bewilderment among listeners as he tried to explain the workings of the draw, which will decide which teams comprise each of the eight first-round groups in next year's tournament.
 
“It's not easy to understand it the first time, I agree with you,” he said as the confusion became clear. “It took me some time to be sure I had the right explanation.”
 
Each group will consist of one team from each of four pots. Pot 1 features the top seeds: Brazil, the host nation, alongside Colombia, Argentina, Uruguay, Germany, Spain, Belgium and Switzerland.
 
The other pots will be based on geographical criteria so that countries from the same confederations are kept apart.
 
Pot 2 will contain the five African teams: Ivory Coast, Ghana, Algeria, Nigeria and Cameroon, plus the non-seeded South American teams, Chile and Ecuador, and a European team to be moved out of Pot 4 in a pre-draw.
 
Pot 3 will feature Japan, Iran, South Korea, Australia, the United States, Mexico, Costa Rica and Honduras.
 
Pot 4 will start with 9 European sides: Bosnia, Croatia, England, Greece, Italy, Netherlands, Portugal, Russia and France, one of which will be randomly removed before the draw begins and placed into pot 2, where they would then be drawn against one of the four seeded South American teams to preserve the geographical balance of the draw.
 
To complicate matters further, the four South American seeds would form a temporary Pot X and the three not drawn against the European team in Pot 2 will return to the main draw.
 
Not Beneficial
 
A seeded team's place in the draw will determine how much travelling around the vast hinterland of Brazil, the world's fifth largest country by area, will be involved, and may therefore not be as beneficial as in the past.
 
The seeded team from Pot 1 drawn into Group H will have a relatively easy first round schedule, with matches in the milder conditions of Belo Horizonte, Rio de Janeiro and Sao Paulo.
 
But the seeds in Group G will play in the intense heat of the northeastern cities Fortaleza, Natal, Salvador or Recife.
 
The team that will meet Brazil in the opening match - position A2 in the draw -- will face a 3,880-km flight to Manaus in the Amazon for their next match before a 4,508-km flight to Recife for their third game.
 
Any team surviving that probably deserves a place in the last 16 for stoicism alone.
 
Kickoff times could also pose a threat to a team's chances, depending on whether they play in the humid north or the chilly south.
 
From June 12 until June 22, when there are three matches a day -- the program switches to four matches a day from June 23 to June 26 for the last round of group games -- matches are due to start at 1pm, 4pm and 7pm local time, which is 1600GMT, 1900GMT and 2200GMT to maximize European television audiences.
 
However, the early kickoff time has sparked some unease as it will be very hot in the northeast at that time of day.
 
Blatter said last month that FIFA may reconsider but changed his mind on Tuesday.
 
“We are sticking with the kickoff times, they have been decided. There is no change,” he told reporters.
 
From June 23 to June 26, a pair of games will kick off at 1pm and the other pair at the same time later in the afternoon, although the clock will show 4pm in one stadium and 5pm at the other because they are in different time zones.
 
Brazil, already allocated position A1 in the draw, will kick off the World Cup on June 12 in Sao Paulo, where two construction workers were killed last week when a crane collapsed on to the stadium staging the opening match.
 
The host team then plays in Fortaleza before finishing their group matches in the capital, Brasilia.
 
In such a vast country, there was an early plan to revert to the arrangements once used in World Cups where teams were based in one region instead of travelling all over the country, but Brazilian organizers did not want one region to stage all of Brazil's first round games.
 
As that was not politically expedient, FIFA agreed that every team had to travel all over, resulting in the huge distances covered, apart from those in Group H where the venues are relatively close.
 
The team drawn in position E3 has the unenviable task of playing in the wintry cool of Porto Alegre and then the tropical heat of Salvador in its first two group matches.
 
With the World Cup less than 200 days away and with roads, airport buildings, stadiums and other infrastructure projects unlikely to be ready or abandoned altogether, Brazil's problems seemed a long way away in the idyllic resort setting of Costa do Suape, in Bahia state, where the draw will take place.
 
Representatives of the eight countries to have won the World Cup will assist in the draw; organizers said that living legend Pele would be included as well.
 
Friday's glitzy ceremony, being shown live in 193 countries around the world, will for 90 minutes at least mask all the problems Brazil still faces to be ready in time for next year's big kickoff.

You May Like

India PM Modi's party distances itself from religious conversions

BJP under fire for being slow to rein in hardline affiliate groups allegedly trying to promote a Hindu-dominant agenda by luring Muslims and Christians to convert to Hinduism More

Anti-Whaling Group Found in Contempt of Court

Radical environmentalists who threw acid and smoke bombs at Japanese whalers in the waters off Antarctica continue their campaign to disrupt Japan's annual whale hunt More

UN's Ban Urges End to Discrimination Against Ebola Workers

Ban was speaking in Guinea on the second day of a whistle-stop tour aimed at thanking healthcare workers of the countries at the heart of the epidemic More

Featured Videos

Your JavaScript is turned off or you have an old version of Adobe's Flash Player. Get the latest Flash player.
Sudan School Becomes Target of Aerial Attacksi
X
December 19, 2014 12:45 AM
The school dropout rate is at an all-time high in Sudan's South Kordofan state because many schools have been destroyed during the three-year civil war between the government and SPLA-N rebel forces. Adam Bailes visited Sudan's Nuba Mountains' region and reports many children are simply too scared to go to school
Video

Video Sudan School Becomes Target of Aerial Attacks

The school dropout rate is at an all-time high in Sudan's South Kordofan state because many schools have been destroyed during the three-year civil war between the government and SPLA-N rebel forces. Adam Bailes visited Sudan's Nuba Mountains' region and reports many children are simply too scared to go to school
Video

Video VOA Reporter Tours Devastated Peshawar School

Islamist militants wearing military uniforms and strapped with explosives attacked a military run school Tuesday in the northwestern Pakistani city of Peshawar. At least 141 people were killed in the horrific attack, most of them young students. VOA reporter Ayaz Gul visited the devastated school and attended the funeral of the principal who courageously tried to save her students from the deadly attack.
Video

Video Nigerians Fleeing Boko Haram Languish in Camp Near Capital

In its five-year effort to impose Islamic law in northeastern Nigeria, the Boko Haram extremist group has killed thousands of people and forced hundreds of thousands to flee. Some of those who ran for their lives now live in squalor on the edges of the capital, Abuja. Chris Stein reports for VOA.
Video

Video Putin Says Russian Economy Will Emerge Stronger

Russian President Vladimir Putin has said his country's sinking economy will not only recover but also become stronger, despite falling oil prices and Western sanctions over Ukraine. VOA's Daniel Schearf reports.
Video

Video Detained Turkish Journalists Follow Teachings of US-Based Preacher

The Turkish government’s jailing of critical journalists has sparked international condemnation and is being seen as an effort to undermine the followers of an ailing Turkish preacher based in the United States. VOA religion reporter Jerome Socolovsky has more.
Video

Video ‘Anti-Islamization’ Marches Increase Tensions In Germany

Anti-immigrant rallies in Germany have been building in recent weeks, peaking Monday night in the city of Dresden where tens of thousands of people turned out to demonstrate against what they call the ‘Islamization’ of the West. Germany has offered asylum to more Syrian refugees than any other country, and this appears to have set off the protests. Henry Ridgwell reports from London.
Video

Video Aceh Rebuilt Decade After Tsunami, But Scars Remain

On December 26, 2004 there was an earthquake in the Indian Ocean so powerful it caused the Earth’s axis to wobble a few centimeters. Onshore on the island of Sumatra, the resulting tsunami was devastating. A decade later, VOA Correspondent Steve Herman reports from Banda Aceh, Indonesia, where although there is little remaining evidence of the physical devastation, the psychological scars among survivors remain.
Video

Video Refugees Living in Kenya Long for Peace in the Home Countries

Kenya is host to numerous refugees seeking safe haven from conflict. Immigrants from Somalia face challenges in their new lives in Kenya. Ahead of International Migrants Day (December 18) Lenny Ruvaga has more for VOA News from the Kenyan capital.

All About America

AppleAndroid

More Americas News

Tourism, Farm Groups See Bigger Business With Cuba

'We are the closest major food producer that Cuba has,' an American Farm Bureau Federation spokesman notes
More

Castro Lauds US Outreach, Says Cuba to Remain Communist

In speech to lawmakers, Cuba's president says economic reforms will be accelerated, yet changes will be gradual
More

Raul Castro Steps Out of Brother's Shadow With US Deal

Cuban president scores diplomatic triumph, surge in support with this week's deal that ends decades of hostility with United States
More

US Report: Immigration Officials' Apprehensions Rose in 2014

Apprehensions of Mexicans fall 14 percent; those of individuals from other countries, predominantly in Central America, rise 68 percent
More

Strife, Mutual Interests Mark Cuba-US Ties

Island nation was once a vacation destination for Americans; over years, many Cubans sought refuge across the Florida Straits
More

Video Miami Cubans Divided on New US Policy

While older, more conservative Cuban Americans have promoted anti-Castro political movement for years, younger generations say economically, it is time for change
More