|ESPNsoccernet: World Cup 2010|
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The 2010 World Cup Draw takes place in Cape Town on December 4, 2009.
The 32 nations will be drawn into eight groups of four with the top two in each group progressing to the Round of 16. The nine chosen South African cities to host the matches next summer are Johannesburg, which will have two venues, along with Cape Town, Durban, Pretoria, Port Elizabeth, Bloemfontein, Nelspruit, Polokwane and Rustenburg.
FIFA are expected to confirm the draw procedure once the 32 qualifiers are known. It is far from certain that they will simply put the nations into four pots of eight by seeds. No more than two European nations can be in any one group, and as such FIFA may have to be a little more creative with their pots for this particular World Cup Draw. In 2006, FIFA had to place Serbia & Montenegro in a special pot to avoid this happening.
Much depends on exactly which nations qualify for the finals, and how that affects the top eight seeds. South Africa are guaranteed to be in the pot of seeds as hosts, meaning there will be seven places available for the qualifying nations. And in 2006, reigning champions Brazil were automatically placed into Group F and the same could happen to Italy next month.
Four years ago, FIFA had, along with a pot for the seeds, a group which contained the unseeded nations from South America, Africa and Oceania, another with eight European nations and a further pot with the seven nations from Asia and Concacaf. There was also the special pot for Serbia & Montenegro could not be drawn into a group which already had two European teams within it.
Thirteen European nations have qualified for the World Cup, which means that if less than five European teams are seeded FIFA will be unable to fit the rest of them into just the one pot. This is exactly what happened with Serbia & Montenegro for the 2006 finals as there were nine unseeded European nations.
It is not yet known exactly how many nations will qualify from Asia, Oceania, Conmebol and Concacaf, as well as the final seedings, so it is impossible for FIFA to release their World Cup Draw procedure. It is expected this will be confirmed shortly after the final matches on November 18.
You will be able to follow the World Cup draw live with ESPN Soccernet on December 4. The World Cup begins on Friday June 11, 2010.