Qualifying Draw Held for 2014 World Cup

Posted July 30th, 2011 at 5:35 pm (UTC-5)
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World football champion Spain has been drawn in the same qualifying group as 2006 runner-up France for the 2014 finals in Brazil.

Football's world governing body FIFA held the preliminary qualifying draw for the next World Cup Saturday in Rio de Janeiro.

Spain was the last name drawn in the European qualifying group during the nearly two-hour live telecast and will also play Belarus, Georgia and Finland.

A total of 166 teams were involved in the draw for five of six FIFA's confederations, with no draw for the South American zone as its nine teams play in one group. Host Brazil gets an automatic berth as host.

The longest football tournament in the world will feature 824 matches over 888 days. The other 31 teams in the finals will be determined by November 2013.

The Netherlands, which lost last year's World Cup title match to Spain in South Africa, will face Turkey, Hungary, Romania, Estonia and Andorra. The last time the World Cup was held in South America in 1978, the Dutch lost the final to host Argentina.

African champions Egypt should coast through to the next round of the competition after being paired with Guinea, Zimbabwe and either Comoros or Mozambique, who play in a preliminary qualifier.

Asian champions Japan face Uzbekistan, Syria and North Korea.

The United States will begin its campaign in the North, Central American and Caribbean region in round three. The Americans will face Jamaica and two other teams that advance from the second round.

Legendary Brazilian football player Pele – now 70 – was named by his country as honorary ambassador for the 2014 World Cup on Friday.

The complete results of the preliminary draw can be found at www.FIFA.com/Brazil2014.