FIFA World Cup draw today
COSTA DO SAUIPE, Brazil (AP) – The eyes of soccer focused nervously today on the draw to determine where, when and, most important, who the 32 teams will play at the 2014 World Cup in Brazil.
The ceremony is being televised live to more than 190 countries from the Atlantic beach resort of Costa do Sauipe, with a security lockdown for the 1 300 guests and 2 000 reporters.
The draw will divide the 32 teams into eight groups, A to H, of four teams each. The principle of pulling names from hats has been used by the governing body FIFA for decades and was first televised in 1966.
The 90-minute show will be part showbiz, with musical performances, and part World Cup practicality. The draw itself will take about 35 minutes.
The buzz of anticipation touched even Brazil’s President Dilma Rousseff. She sent tweets to Neymar, asking the star of Brazil’s national team if he wanted weak or strong opponents from the outset of the month-long tournament next June. He replied that there are no weak teams at soccer’s showcase competition.
The field is tougher than at the 2010 World Cup in South Africa.
Of the top 25 teams in FIFA’s rankings, all but two (Ukraine and Denmark) qualified for Brazil. All eight previous world champions will take part, with five-time winner Brazil desperate to lift the trophy at home for the first time.