With the World Cup draw approaching on Friday there is often confusion over how the draw works and how teams are seeded into separate groups of four. That confusion is easily solved when simply breaking down which teams will go where, but there is still some unknown that needs to be announced on Friday.
The simplest way of explaining the process is by breaking down the draw into two parts: What we know and what we will learn. As for now, let's go through how pots work and how those will be divided on Friday.
What we know
As of now, there are four pots of eight teams. Brazil, Spain, Germany, Argentina, Colombia, Belgium, Switzerland and Uruguay are all in Pot One. With Brazil playing host, they are automatically placed inside Pot One along with the seven top-ranked teams according to October's FIFA rankings.
Pot Two is comprised of Algeria, Cameroon, Ivory Coast, Ghana, Nigeria, Chile and Ecuador. This pot includes five African teams and two South American teams with a team from Europe being added later.
Pot Three includes Australia, Iran, Japan, South Korea and all four CONCACAF teams: Costa Rica, Honduras, Mexico and the U.S. Any team from this pot could end up with a difficult draw, leaving many U.S. fans hoping they can avoid a "group of death" draw.
How bad can it be for a team in the group of death? Ives Galarcep of the Huffington Post explains that one worst case scenario could be the U.S. being paired with Brazil, Italy and the Netherlands. Let's just hope not.
Pot Four contains the remaining European teams, one of which will be moved to Pot Two prior to the draw. Those teams are Bosnia-Herzegovina, Croatia, England, France, Greece, Italy, the Netherlands, Portugal and Russia.
What we will learn on Friday
The draw procedure on Friday will then go as follows, according to the official FIFA website.
FIFA will begin the draw by picking out one European team from Pot Four and placing them in Pot Two to balance out the teams. Pot One will then be emptied, Brazil going first, with each team being placed at the top of each groups A through H.
Pots will then be emptied in order from Pot Two down to Pot Four, beginning with the European team drawn from Pot Four being paired with one South American team drawn from a previous pot known as Pot X.
Positions two through four will be placed in each group from the numbered pot that they were chosen, forming eight groups of four teams. Paul Carr of ESPN tweeted out a picture of how the pots took form:
The official pots for Friday's World Cup draw (11:30 AM ET on ESPN2): pic.twitter.com/z7VAW6pL2e— Paul Carr (@PCarrESPN) December 3, 2013
Hopefully this made things more understandable for when the draw is announced on Friday. The draw will give fans a more detailed look at who each team will be set to face when the World Cup finally starts next summer.