via press release:
PRELIMINARY QUALIFYING DRAW FOR FIFA WORLD CUP RUSSIA 2018™ ON TELEMUNDO AND NBC UNIVERSO THIS SATURDAY, JULY 25, AT 11AM/10C/8P
TELEMUNDO, NBC UNIVERSO and the digital platforms of NBCDeportes.com kick off their FIFA World Cup Russia 2018™ programming with the broadcast of the draw that will determine the calendar for the qualification of national teams of the CONCACAF, CONMEBOL, UEFA and CAF confederations
Miami – July 23, 2015 – NBC DEPORTES will air the preliminary qualifying draw for the FIFA World Cup Russia 2018™, the event that will indicate the path that national teams of five of the six confederations will follow on their way to the World Cup. The mega event will air this Saturday, July 25, at 11AM/10C/8P live from the historic Kostantinovsky Palace in St. Petersburg on TELEMUNDO, NBC UNIVERSO and NBCDEPORTES.COM digital platforms. The broadcast will bring together the voices of renowned sportscaster Andres Cantor, veteran Sammy Sadovnik, the three-time scoring champion of Mexican soccer and Cruz Azul legend, Carlos Hermosillo, and former star of the Chivas of Guadalajara, Manuel Sol.
Countries in the different confederations (except for Asia which is currently in its second qualifying round) ??will learn from the draw in St. Petersburg the order in which they will play their qualifying matches. “This draw will establish the degree of difficulty that our countries will face to get to Russia,” said Andres Cantor, who has covered every World Cup since Spain 1982. “It will be interesting to see how the calendar for South America plays out as over several previous qualifying rounds the same teams have faced each other.”
Meanwhile, Sammy Sadovnik, who has extensive journalistic experience covering World Cup championships, stated that “the preliminary draw marks the official start of World Cup Russia, even though some confederations have started their qualifiers.” He also spoke of the expectations to know the details of the CONCACAF zone: “For the national teams of our area this is the time to learn who the rivals will be and their future destiny as they compete in the third, fourth, and decisive fifth round – the Hexagonal – which will determine the final qualified teams.”
For CONCACAF, a zone that will have 3.5 slots, the third round will be comprised of the ten winners of the previous round that will be divided into two different groups, according to their FIFA qualifying ranking, and will be matched against each other. They will play home and away games between August 31 and September 8, 2015. The winners will go on to another round where they will be joined by Costa Rica, Mexico, United States, Honduras, Panama and Trinidad and Tobago. The 12 teams participating in this fourth phase will then be divided into three groups of four each. Matches will be played between November 7, 2015 and September 6, 2016. The first and second places in each group will advance to a final hexagonal round.
For CONMEBOL, with 4.5 slots, ten teams will play in one group. The national teams will all play each other in round-robin matches between October 2015 and October 2017. The first four will be assured their place in the World Cup, while the fifth-place team will compete against a team from another confederation.
Important part of this preliminary draw will decide the playoffs that will determine which national teams will play against CONCACAF and CONMEBOL in the half-ticket inter-confederation playoffs.
The UEFA zone, with 13 World Cup slots, features 53 teams, but only 52 will enter the draw since Russia as the host country qualifies automatically. According to their FIFA rankings, the national teams will be distributed into seven groups of six and two of five to face each other in home-and-away matches between September 4, 2016 and October 10, 2017. The nine winners will qualify directly and the eight best second-place teams will compete in playoffs in November 2017.
The African Confederation (CAF) has 5 slots for Russia 2018 that will be contested among 53 national associations. Oceania only has half a slot which will be disputed initially among four nations, the winner of which will join seven others in two groups of four. The six teams that reach the third round will bring forth two leaders who will play a final in back-and-forth visits, with the winner moving on to the playoffs against the national team of another confederation yet to be determined