The 2014 World Cup has been all over the news recently. On everybody’s mind is the group draw, which will happen Friday the 6th of December at 16:00 GMT in Salvador, Brazil. FIFA has separated each of the 32 teams into 4 pots.
Each World Cup Group, A through H, will ultimately contain four teams. Fifa will have a random draw that will disperse the Pots evenly throughout the groups. No more than one team per pot will be included in a particular group i.e. Group A will include Brazil and one team from each of the other pots 2 through 4. As seen in the above graphic, pot 4 has one more team than pot 2. FIFA will thus move one of the European teams to pot 2 through a random draw.
However FIFA imposes a “Geographical Separation rule” which means that no more than two European teams and only one South American team can be in each group. FIFA has come up with a complicated procedure to ensure this which you can find here.
Furthermore, FIFA has explained that all teams in Pot 1 will receive a corresponding 1 seed in their group. That means if Spain is drawn into group B, they will be assigned B1. If you have tickets to a game with a "1" team, you are guaranteed one of the top seeded teams.
USA Group of Death
For the US, a dread scenario would be Brazil, Ghana USA and the Netherlands, while on the other side a fairly easy road could be taken if they are paired with Switzerland, Algeria and Bosnia. Further draw considerations for all teams can be found here in a great breakdown from TSN.
Total Ticket Sales First Round
In the first random draw phase, FIFA allocated approximately 890,000 tickets to fans. In the following First Come First Serve phase, another 200,000 tickets were sold. FIFA originally reported that they had in total approximately 1.1 million tickets to sell directly to the public. I discussed this point in the comments of my First Come First Serve Post:
When I brought up this interesting fact to a FIFA customer service representative, he reminded me that things change rather quickly after the draw. People return their tickets (for a 10% fee) because their team didn’t make it or for various other reasons. Additionally, any of the 600 thousand commercial affiliate tickets that are not picked up by the sponsors will be filtered back into the general tickets.
Black Market Ticket Sales
As the World Cup looms closer, ticket Scalpers are trying to cash in. Prices up to 50 X the amount of face value have been reported by the Mirror. Many of the Black market sellers out there are selling tickets that they don't even have.
FIFA has found up to 100 internet sites selling tickets illegally and is pursuing action against those that do not comply with their request to stop sales.
Participating Member Association begin communication
In related news, Participating Member Associations have started contacting their members to provide information on the priority ticket process during the second sales phase. I received the below email a week ago.
World Cup Security Measures increase
According to the Telegraph, Brazil's Sport Minister says that the Airports, Bus Stations and Subways will be safer than similar locations in the USA or Europe. Additionally, rubber bullets may be used if protestors turn violent. The former deputy commissioner of the South Africa Police Service, Andre Pruis, has been advising FIFA on security measures for the 2014 World Cup and agrees with such measures.
Brazil hosted the 2013 Confederations Cup without a major incident and they are hoping that the 2014 World Cup will follow suit. There were also serious concerns about the 2010 South Africa World Cup, which turned out to be a largely safe and secure event.
Six of the 12 host stadiums were ready and tested during the Confederations Cup in 2013. The other 6 stadiums were supposed to be ready by the 31st of December, however the Brazilian government has said that all stadiums will be delivered after this due date. One minister went on to say " 'In every wedding that I attended the bride was late. I've never seen a bride arrive on time. But I've never seen a wedding not happen because of that,'.
With two stadium workers losing their life last week, there is renewed concern over Brazil's readiness to host the games.