Next summer will be a momentous occasion for Panama and Iceland who are making their debut at the World Cup.
Iceland are the only country with a population under one million to have reached the World Cup finals. They’ll be looking to add to their success last summer when they made their first appearance at a major tournament – Euro 2016 – before infamously knocking England out in the last-16 to reach the quarter-finals.
As for Panama, they reached the World Cup finals thanks to an 88th-minute winner against Costa Rica. That result knocked out the United States in what proved to be another shock of the World Cup qualifiers.
Whoever they’re drawn alongside later today, I’m sure they’ll be happy to just be there.
Our man Miguel getting in the mood in Moscow…
Shock. In other news, the Pope is a Catholic and the sky is blue.
So what actually happened?
Well. Gianni Infantino on Friday dodged questions about the alleged existence of a state-sponsored doping programme in Russia, the host country of next year’s World Cup finals.
Infantino was speaking alongside Russian Deputy Prime Minister Vitaly Mutko ahead of the World Cup draw at the Kremlin.
“Fifa doesn’t participate in any speculations about any situation,” he said, referring to allegations of state-sponsored doping in Russia that could see the country banned from the Pyeongchang Winter Olympics in February.
Infantino said Fifa was testing players in and out of competition and that all tests from the 2017 Confederations Cup, the 2016 European
championship and the 2014 World Cup had proven negative.
“These tests are not carried out in Russia and they are carried out by non-Russians,” Infantino told reporters.
“Obviously, as it was the case in the past and as will be the case in the future as well, if it turns out that anyone has committed a doping violation, has taken some doping, then there will be sanctions.”
I’ll just leave this here to make your own judgements.
A reminder of the World Cup pots:
- Russia (hosts)
- Germany (1)
- Brazil (2)
- Portugal (3)
- Argentina (4)
- Belgium (5)
- Poland (6)
- France (7)
Miguel has had his say on this afternoon’s draw and asks: All the top countries are beatable, so why all the poker faces?
Good morning and welcome to our live coverage of the World Cup draw!
The draw is scheduled to take place at 3pm but join us for build-up from Moscow, where our Chief Football Writer Miguel Delaney is already in place.