MOSCOW – Former English striker Gary Lineker has been chosen to conduct the 2018 World Cup Final Draw scheduled for Dec. 1 at Moscow’s Kremlin Palace, FIFA announced on Friday.
Lineker, the 1986 World Cup’s top scorer, is set to be assisted by famous Russian sports journalist Maria Komandnaya and another eight assistants, whose names are to be revealed soon.
“As a player, I was fortunate enough to take part in the World Cup finals on two occasions. It is quite special to be involved in yet another tournament – now on the stage, unveiling the results of the draw. I have been on the other side, waiting to find out my opponents, and I know how exciting this occasion is,” Lineker said.
“We at FIFA are really pleased that Gary has accepted our invitation and that he will be with us for such an important occasion for the world of football,” FIFA Deputy Secretary General Zvonimir Boban said.
Komandnaya pointed out that the draw was particularly exceptional as “millions of fans are holding their breath, hoping their dreams will come true. It’s the time when the World Cup officially begins.”
Some soccer legends are expected to take part in the draw, which is scheduled to start at 1600 GMT.
The World Cup’s 32 teams are divided into four pots, with the highest-ranking squads in FIFA’s ranking to be in Pot 1: Germany, Portugal, Brazil, Argentina, France, Belgium and Poland, as well as Russia, the host.
Pot 2 includes Spain, Peru (which takes part in the tournament after 36 years), Switzerland, England, Colombia, Mexico, Uruguay and Croatia.
Sweden, which ended Italy’s hope of competing in World Cup in the play-off, is among the Pot 3 teams, along with Denmark, Iceland, Costa Rica, Tunisia, Egypt, Senegal and Iran.
Finally, Pot 4 consists of Serbia, Nigeria, Australia, Japan, Morocco, Panama, South Korea and Saudi Arabia.
Each one of the World Cup’s eight groups should include one team from each pot.