Rio de Janeiro, Brazil
The preliminary qualifying draw for the 2014 World Cup had some interesting contests set including in the European Zone where world football champion Spain is expected to rekindle its rivalry against France.
Spain was the last name drawn in Group I in the European qualifying group during the live telecast draw conducted by football's world governing body FIFA Saturday in Rio de Janeiro.
The 1998 winners France last collided with Spain in the second round of the 2006 finale in Germany, with the French squad winning that encounter and advancing to the next round.
Spain will also play Belarus, Georgia and Finland in the same group.
Also in the European sector, four-time winner Italy will square off with Denmark in Group B, while in Group C, the Swedish contingent will be gearing up for a tough test against Germany, the most successful team in qualifying history.
England, which won the 1966 FIFA World Cup, will be campaigning in Group H against Ukraine, Montenegro and Poland.
The Netherlands, last year's runner-up to World Cup winner Spain in South Africa, will play Turkey, Hungary, Romania, Estonia and Andorra in Group D.
Meanwhile in the African Zone, four-time finalist Morocco, the first African country to win a World Cup match, will be challenged in Group C by Cote d'Ivoire side, which played at the 18th FIFA World Cup in Germany 2006.
In Group D, the Ghana side, quarterfinalist in South Africa, is expected to have a tough challenge in rival Zambia.
Considered to have an easy round are African champions Egypt. The Egyptian side was paired with Guinea, Zimbabwe and either Comoros or Mozambique in Group G. Comoros and Mozambique will be playing in a preliminary qualifier.
In the Asian Zone draw, Asian champs Japan will be facing North Korea, one of its fellow region representatives in South Africa in 2010.
In the CONCACAF section, the United States will begin its bid in round three, where it will face Jamaica and two other teams that advance from the second round.
Also in the preliminary round 3 of this zone, Mexico will clash with Costa Rica, guided by former coach Ricardo La Volpe, in Group B.
The Oceania zone, the fifth FIFA confederation included in the Saturday's draw, will be highlighted by New Zealand, which is paired with Fiji, Solomon Islands and Papua New Guinea in Group B.
There was no draw for the South American group, with Brazil receiving an automatic berth as host nation.
Only 31 out of a record 203 teams competing in the preliminaries will advance to the 20th edition of the FIFA World Cup in Brazil which will kick off on June 12, 2014.
2014 FIFA World Cup Preliminary Draw
African Zone Draw
Group A: South Africa, Botswana, Central African Republic, Somalia or Ethiopia
Group B: Tunisia, Cape Verde Islands, Sierra Leone, Equatorial Guinea or Madagascar
Group C: Côte d'Ivoire, Morocco, Gambia, Chad or Tanzania
Group D: Ghana, Zambia, Sudan, Lesotho or Burundi
Group E: Burkina Faso, Gabon, Niger, Sao Tome e Principe or Congo
Group F: Nigeria, Malawi, Seychelles or Kenya, Djibouti or Namibia
Group G: Egypt, Guinea, Zimbabwe, Comoros or Mozambique
Group H: Algeria, Mali, Benin, Eritrea or Rwanda
Group I: Cameroon, Libya, Guinea-Bissau or Togo, Swaziland or Congo DR
Group J: Senegal, Uganda, Angola, Mauritius or Liberia
Asian Zone Draw
Group A: China, Jordan, Iraq, Singapore
Group B: Korea Republic, Kuwait, UAE, Lebanon
Group C: Japan, Uzbekistan, Syria, Korea DPR
Group D: Australia, Saudi Arabia, Oman, Thailand
Group E: Iran, Qatar, Bahrain, Indonesia
North, Central America and the Caribbean Zone Draw (Round Two)
Group A: El Salvador, Surinam, Cayman Islands, Dominican Republic
Group B: Trinidad and Tobago, Guyana, Barbados, Bermuda
Group C: Panama, Dominica, Nicaragua, Bahamas
Group D: Canada, St. Kitts and Nevis, Puerto Rico, St Lucia
Group E: Grenada, Guatemala, St Vincent and the Grenadines, Belize
Group F: Haiti, Antigua and Barbuda, Curacao, US Virgin Islands
North, Central America and the Caribbean Zone Draw (Round Three)
Group A: USA, Jamaica, Winner of R2 Grp E, Winner of R2 Grp F
Group B: Mexico, Costa Rica, Winner of R2 Grp A, Winner of R2 Grp B
Group C: Honduras, Cuba, Winner of R2 Grp D, Winner of R2 Grp C
Oceanian Zone Draw
Group A: Vanuatu, New Caledonia, American Samoa/Cook Islands/Samoa or Tonga, Tahiti
Group B: Fiji, New Zealand, Solomon Islands, Papua New Guinea
European Zone Draw
Group A: Croatia, Serbia, Belgium, Scotland, Macedonia, Wales
Group B: Italy, Denmark, Czech Republic, Bulgaria, Armenia, Malta.
Group C: Germany, Sweden, Republic of Ireland, Austria, Faroe Islands, Kazakhstan.
Group D: Netherlands, Turkey, Hungary, Romania, Estonia, Andorra.
Group E: Norway, Slovenia, Switzerland, Albania, Cyprus, Iceland.
Group F: Portugal, Russia, Israel, Northern Ireland, Azerbaijan, Luxembourg
Group G: Greece, Slovakia, Bosnia-Herzegovina, Lithuania, Latvia, Lichtenstein
Group H: England, Montenegro, Ukraine, Poland, Moldova, San Marino
Group I: Spain, France, Belarus, Georgia, Finland
- Spain Draws France in Qualifier for 2014 World Cup
- Chelios, Tkachuk, Suter Among U.S. Hockey Hall of Fame Inductees
- Eagles Bold and Aggressive: Land Prized Free Agents
- New-Look Browns Could Get Boost From Rookie Receiver Greg Little
- Raiders Sign Linebacker Kamerion Wimbley to Five-Year Deal
- Plaxico Burress Heading to Jets
- Giants Give Osi Umenyiora Permission to Seek Trade
- Giants Sign Ahmad Bradshaw to Four-Year Deal
- Jets Retain Antonio Cromartie
- Colts Ink Peyton Manning
- Bobby Abreu to Play Key Role In Angels Bid to Overtake Rangers in AL West
- Pence In Pennsylvania: Phils Excited About New Acquisition
- Houston Astros Making Everyone Better But Themselves
- Tiger Woods Dawn Patrol Back In Action
- Yani Tseng Wins British Title
- Never-Say-Die Attitude Propels Japan to Victory Over USA In Women's FIFA World Cup Finals
- Darren Clarke Clutches Claret: Superb Play Earns Him 140th Open Championship
- Stem Cells Don't Make Bartolo Colon 'Super Human'
- Jose Reyes Enjoying Superb Season, Plays It Safe With Ailing Hamstring
- Skipper Kirk Gibson Igniting Diamondbacks To Contention in NL West
- Manager Terry Collins Not Surprised With Mets Recent Hitting Tear
- Matt Cain Anchoring Strong Starting Pitching Staff for Giants
- Novak Djokovic Topples Rafael Nadal in Wimbledon Final
- Kvitova Defies Experienced Sharapova - Captures Wimbledon Crown
- Revitalized Maria Sharapova Aiming For Second Wimbledon Title vs. Kvitova
- No Basketball Association? League Locks Out Players As Of Midnight
- NFL Labor Talks In High Gear In Attempt To End Lockout
- Fans, Fanaticism and the Passion of LeBron James
- LeBron James Shows Hate Is Winning the Day
- Scottie Switch: Pippen Declares Michael Jordan Greatest-Ever NBA Player
- Yani Tseng Becoming New Gold Standard In Women's Golf
- Yani Tseng in a League Of Her Own: Wins LPGA Championship by 10 Shots
- Mexico Roars Past United States For Second Straight Gold Cup Title
- Joe Torre Warmly Received At Yankees' Old-Timers Day
- Clint Dempsey Lifts United States Past Panama Into Gold Cup Finale
- 2011 NBA Draft
- Ducks' Perry and Bruins' Thomas Highlight NHL Awards
- Nationals Skipper Jim Riggleman Out In Washington
- Aces With Bats: Phillies Pitchers Also a Hit at Plate
- Tiger Continues Grip At No. 1 Spot In Top-Earning American Athletes List
- Chappel and Garrigus lead Americans at Rory's U.S. Open
- Rory's Rampage: McIlroy Shoots 16-under, Mauls Field at U.S. Open
- Nadal and Berdych Win Opening Round Wimbledon Matches
- Marathon Men John Isner - Nicolas Mahut Gear Up For Part Two At Wimbledon
- Orlando Cabrera Hopes to Help Indians win AL Central
- McCourt's One-Day Trial Could Decide Dodgers Future
- Rory McIlroy's Magical March: Record-setter Takes Eight-Shot Lead
- Rory McIlroy Runs Past Field: Sets 36-Hole Scoring Record at U.S. Open
- Rory McIlroy Headed for 'Hangover 2' after Historic Day at U.S. Open
- UCLA Star Pat Cantlay Beyond Solid With 67
- Robert Rock shoots one-under at U.S. Open
- McIlroy Impresses with First Round 65
- Big Three U.S. Open face-flop: Donald 74, Kaymer 74, Westwood 75
- Luke Donald gets hot start at U.S. Open
- Congressional: Tough and Shining Star of the 2011 U.S. Open
- U.S. Open 2011 Preview: Phil Mickelson - Excited and Upbeat
- U.S. Open 2011 Preview: European Challengers Are Tough And Ready For A Show
- U.S. Open 2011 Preview: K.J. Choi Is Cool, Calm and Ready To Collect
- NFL Owners and NFL Players Appear To Be Making Progress In Most Recent Talks
- Lebron James Backtracks On Comments Made After Game 6
- ABC Gets Big Ratings Boost from NBA Finals
- Mavs Enjoy 'Tweet' Success
- Happy in Cleveland: City rejoices in LeBron's Failure, Mavs' Title
- Terry, Nowitzki Lead Mavericks to First Ever NBA Title
- Mav-elous! Dallas captures first NBA title with game six win over Heat
- Wade, LeBron Mock Nowitzki Illness, But Finals Loss Could Make Them Sick
- Top 10 Cities With the Most Sports Championships
- Brand-new Looks at the Grand Old Game
- Murderers' Row, Or: Exit Laughing
- Yankees' George Steinbrenner is gone; his creation lives on
- Lebron James Will Regret Leaving Mediocre Team
- George Steinbrenner Helped Revolutionize Baseball
- One More Thing About LeBron James: Enough Already!
- Who Was LeBron James?
- LeBron James - Cleveland, Jilted
- Perfect Reaction to an Imperfect Call
- World Cup Soccer Can Have Political Impact
Copyright © 2011 AHN - All Rights Reserved