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FIFA insists 2018 World Cup draw will not be rigged

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FIFA insists 2018 World Cup draw will not be rigged

FIFA insists 2018 World Cup draw will not be rigged
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FIFA has insisted the 2018 World Cup draw will not be rigged.

The move to reassure football fans follows last year's claims by former FIFA president Sepp Blatter that hot and cold balls were used to fix some European level fixtures.

Following a dress rehearsal in Moscow ahead of Friday's big draw, officials made a point of denying any manipulation would take place.

Away from such concerns over fixture fixing, anticipation continues to build over who will face who next summer.

Football's show piece event will see 32 teams split into four pots based on their current rankings.

Pot 1 includes the tournaments top seeds and includes giants Germany, Brazil and Argentina, but also Belgium and Poland. Russia also makes the first group thanks to the fact they are hosts.

Depending on how the balls fall, any of the teams in pot 1 could find themselves facing a potentially mouthwatering show down with either Spain, England or Uruguay.

The former world champions are all in pot 2 with the likes of Switzerland, Colombia, and Mexico among others.

Elsewhere Iceland are set to make their World Cup bow and Egypt are back after a 28 year absence. The last time the Pharaohs played in the event was way back in 1990.

Former European Champions Denmark are among the last 32 after missing out on the finals in Brazil last time around.

All three teams are in Pot 3 - as are Costa Rica, Sweden, Tunisia, Senegal and Iran.

Nigeria will also be on the plane to Russia. The Super Eagles, who have only missed out on one tournament since their debut in 1994, will be looking to make it past the second round, their previous best finish.

Other teams in Pot 4 include Serbia, who topped their qualifying group with only one defeat, Japan who made the last 16 eight years ago and Panama who are also making their World Cup debut in Russia.