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2014 World Cup kicks off with Saturday's draw in Brazil

07-31-2011 10:05 BJT

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The 2014 World Cup has officially kicked off, with Saturday's draw marking the first major milestone on the way to the finals in Brazil. Keith Crane, has the initial group line-ups.

The draw begins what will be the first World Cup in Brazil in 64 years.

European nations are divided into nine groups, with the winners automatically qualifying and the eight best group runners-up advancing to a playoff.

The draw pitted England with 2012 European Championship co-hosts Ukraine and Poland in Group H. Italy will meet Denmark and the Czech Republic in Group B, while Germany faces Sweden, Austria and Ireland in Group C.

In Asia, Japan will face Uzbekistan, Syria and North Korea in Group C, while Australia will play Saudi Arabia, Oman and Thailand in Group D. Iran, Bahrain and Qatar were drawn in the same Group E, along with Indonesia, while China is in Group A with Iraq, Jordan and Singapore.

FIFA's president Joseph Blatter delivers a welcome speech during the Preliminary Draw

The African teams are divided into 10 groups for qualifiers beginning in November.

South America was not included in the draw because the continent's nine teams will be placed in a single group. They will play each other twice, with the top four finishers securing a World Cup spot. The fifth-place team will advance to an intercontinental playoff against a team from Asia. The other playoff will pit teams from CONCACAF and Oceania.

The qualifiers began in June and will end in November 2013, after 824 matches. Twenty-eight teams were eliminated in preliminary rounds before Saturday's draw.

The World Cup will be played from June 12 to July 13, and the complete match schedule will be announced in October.

Brazilian football star Ronaldo draws Spain

Brazilian football player Neymar draws Tanzania

 

 

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Editor:Liu Fang |Source: CNTV.CN

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