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FIFA WORLD CUP FINAL DRAWS THROUGH THE AGES

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The Final Draw for the World Cup 2018 is 11 days away at the State Kremlin Palace in Moscow. It is the 21st Final draw to be made since 1930. In present era, the Final Draw for a FIFA World Cup has become a major event watched by thousands of spectators at the draw venue and millions more live at home on television or the internet. Accordingly, the financial and time investment required for the preparation of this event is significant, and given the huge technical requirements, it can now only be held in congress centres, which have the necessary technology and know-how at their disposal.

But this was not always the case: the Final Draw only grew to such a scale just over 20 years ago with Italia 90, when it could no longer be held in TV studios, hotels or even government ministries, as had traditionally been the case. Here is a brief review of the World Cup final draws over the century.

1930 – Montevideo (Uruguay), July 10, 1930

Venue FIFA offices in Montevideo

Teams in Draw 13

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The organisation of the first World Cup looked rather different from today’s – no qualifying competition, teams playing by invitation, three weeks of sea voyage for the four European sides … and a Final Draw which was not made until the teams and FIFA arrived in Uruguay — a mere three days before the opening matches.

The original plan had been to hold the event on a traditional knock-out basis, but when only 13 teams turned up, first-round groups were formed with the top team in each group going through to the semi-finals.

1934 – Rome (Italy) May 3, 1934

Venue Albergo Ambasciatori

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Teams in Draw 16

 The inaugural World Cup had been so successful that the entries for the second were rather more encouraging, with 32 teams wanting to play in Italy. Therefore, even the hosts, Italy, had to qualify – which they did without too much difficulty against Greece.

The Draw at the Ambasciatori Hotel in Rome was again made just before the tournament began. This time, the first round was to be a knockout stage, which meant half of the teams would go home after only one game.

The USA, who had submitted their entry after the official deadline, were forced to contest a play-off against Central American qualifiers Mexico before going into the first round … and a 7-1 defeat by Italy.

1938 – Paris (France), March 5, 1938

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Venue Salon d’Horloge of the Ministère des Affaires étrangères

Teams in Draw 15

 

Only 15 of the 16 teams that had qualified from an original entry of 36 arrived in France for what was to be the last World Cup for 12 years. Austria had disappeared as a political entity after qualifying and the country’s place in the finals was offered to England, who having already declined to enter the qualifiers also rejected this invitation.

The Draw in the famous Salon d’Horloge of the Ministère des Affaires étrangères was made by the grandson of the French President of FIFA, Jules Rimet, in Paris, with Sweden receiving a bye and Germany (who had co-opted several of the Austrian stars), France, Italy, Czechoslovakia, Hungary, Cuba and sole South American representatives Brazil being seeded.

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1950 – Rio de Janeiro (Brazil), May 22, 1950

Venue Ministry of Foreign Affairs

Teams in Draw 13

 

With Europe recovering from the war, the first World Cup of a new era in Brazil saw another innovation in the format for the finals, designed to ensure the Europeans would not make the long trip for only one game. The Draw for what was since a 1946 FIFA Congress decision called the “Jules Rimet Cup” took place at the Ministry of Foreign Affairs.

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Thirteen finalists from a rather confusing qualifying process (in which teams withdrew after qualifying and eliminated teams were re-admitted) were drawn into three pools: two of four teams, one of three and one mini-group of two.

The pool winners progressed to a final pool, without a traditional final. Nevertheless, the results in the final pool meant that the last scheduled match, in which Uruguay defeated Brazil 2-1, did indeed determine the champions.

1954 – Zurich (Switzerland), November 30, 1953

Venue St- Gotthard Hotel

Teams in Draw 16

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By the time of the World Cup in Switzerland (where FIFA was celebrating its half-century at its headquarters in Zurich), the finals format was beginning to settle down: 16 finalists, four first-round pools, quarter-finals, semi-finals and a final shaped the Final Draw at the St- Gotthard Hotel in Zurich made by Emil Landolt, the mayor of the town.

However, the imaginative 1954 organisers seeded two teams per pool, who only played the two non-seeded teams. Seeding was also subject to a new procedure. The seeded teams were determined before they had even qualified for the finals, which meant that favourites Spain had to be replaced as seeds by their conquerors, Turkey – while West Germany, the eventual champions were unseeded in the same first-round quartet!

1958 – Solna (Sweden), February 8, 1958

Venue Cirkus studio of Swedish TV

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Teams in Draw 16

 

The 1958 FIFA World Cup in Sweden not only saw the arrival of Pelé but also that of the finals format that was to hold fast for several subsequent tournaments: four pools of four, each team playing each other, with the top two qualifying for the quarter-finals.

For the Draw at the Cirkus studio of Swedish TV there were no seeds as such, apart from each pool containing one western European team, one of the four British teams that had qualified, and one from Latin America, which made for some strong first-round groups.

1962 – Santiago de Chile (Chile), January 18, 1962

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Venue Carrera Hotel

Teams in Draw 16

 

For the Final Draw at the Carrera Hotel the new rule was maintained whereby the defending champions as well as the hosts qualified automatically to take part in the 16-team finals.

FIFA’s only innovation for the tournament in Chile was to refer to first-round “groups” rather than “pools”.

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One team was seeded per group: Uruguay, Chile, Brazil and Argentina.

1966 – London (England), January 6, 1966

Venue Royal Garden Hotel

Teams in Draw 16

 

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With excitement running high in the homeland of football, the Draw for the 1966 World Cup at the Royal Garden Hotel in London was the first ever to be televised live, ensuring an even more intensive build-up to the big event.

There was no change in the format, with England, West Germany, Brazil and Italy the top seeds among the 16 finalists from an original entry of 74 countries. The Draweventually led to the spectacular encounter between the only two newcomers in the competition, surprise package Korea DPR and Eusebio’s Portugal in the quarter-final.

1970 – Mexico City (Mexico), January 10, 1970

Venue Maria Isabel Sheraton Hotel

Teams in Draw 16

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Uppermost in the minds of the European (and other) finalists was the desire to avoid matches scheduled for midday in the heat and the altitude of Mexico City and other venues, which was made necessary by the sudden enormous expansion of worldwide television coverage.

There were no seeds; instead the committee in charge formed geographical”sections” from which the four groups were drawn at the Maria Isabel Sheraton Hotel. The hosts managed to finish second in their group on goal average behind the Soviet Union. Defending champions England were drawn in a first-round group with Brazil, who would brilliantly go on to win the title.

1974 – Frankfurt (West Germany), January 5, 1974

Venue Main hall of Radio Hessen

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Teams in Draw 16

 

The German organisers had picked a truly innocent hand to draw the teams during the ceremony in the main hall of Radio Hessen in Frankfurt.

And yet the chosen member of the Schöneberger Sängerknaben boys’ choir from Berlin created uproar as he produced perhaps the biggest shock of all such occasions, by drawing the name of the hosts, West Germany (one of the seeded teams together with Brazil, Italy and Uruguay), in the same group as the neighbouring East German.

Despite the political overtones, the game went ahead and the East Germany won the game in Hamburg 1-0, although it was West Germany who went on to win the cup.

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1978 – Buenos Aires (Argentina), January 14, 1978

Venue Teatro San Martin

Teams in Draw 16

 

With 99 national teams entering the preliminary competition, the qualifying period lasted longer than ever before – 21 months – and included qualifying matches between the USA and Canada on an artificial pitch (in Vancouver) and in an indoor stadium (in Seattle) for the first time.

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The Final Draw at the Teatro San Martin in Buenos Aires was based upon the most complicated seeding arrangement yet, with a compromise being reached to place five seeded teams in the four groups: Argentina (group 1/team 1), Italy (1/4), Germany FR (2/6), Brazil (3/12) and the Netherlands (4/13). Two of the seeds reached the final, but the mathematical formula was not a happy one and was promptly discarded.

 

1982 – Madrid (Spain), January 16, 1982

Venue Palacio de Congresos

Teams in Draw 24

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The Draw ceremony at Madrid’s Palacio de Congresos under the patronage of the Spanish royal family is unfortunately best remembered (or forgotten) for a mishap with one of the revolving drums containing the mini-footballs with the teams’ names and the confusion that ensued in an effort to keep the South American qualifiers apart in the first round.

FIFA learnt its lesson and subsequently returned to the foo lproof system of using men rather than machines to make the Draw.

The 1982 World Cup was the first with 24 finalists, with one seeded team in each of the six four-team, first-round groups. Lengthy discussions led to Argentina, Brazil, Germany FR, England, Spain and ultimate champions Italy being seeded.

1986 – Mexico City (Mexico), December 15, 1985

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Venue Televisa television studios

Teams in Draw 24

 

The Draw in Mexico City was held at the Televisa television studios against the backdrop of a striking Mayan decor. There were 45 draw procedures in an intensive 23 minutes, with three young boys adeptly plucking out the all-important plastic balls.

A change from three-team groups to a knockout stage in the second round made no difference to the draw for the six first round groups, with Mexico, Italy, Brazil, Germany FR, France and Poland the seeded teams.

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1990 – Rome (Italy), December 9, 1989

Venue Palazzo dello Sport dell’Eur

Teams in Draw 24

 

Italy mobilised a galaxy of stars to support FIFA General Secretary Joseph S. Blatter during the Final Draw for Italia ’90 at the Palaeur in Rome: opera tenor Luciano Pavarotti, movie legend Sophia Loren and football stars including Pelé, Karl-Heinz Rummenigge and the late Bobby Moore.

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It was the most ambitious draw show to date, with opera interspersed with rock

(Gianna Nannini and Edoardo Bennato singing the official World Cup song Un’ estate italiana) and modern dance.

The technical format remained the same as in Mexico: six groups of four, the seeded teams being Argentina, Brazil, Italy, Germany FR, Belgium and England.

1994 – Las Vegas (USA), 19 December 1993

Venue Convention Center

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Teams in Draw 24

 

For the first time, Nigeria featured in the World Cup draws. The eyes of the football world were firmly fixed on Las Vegas and an array of stars from show business and the world of

sport as an audience of around 4,500 packed the Convention Center for the Final Draw for the 1994 FIFA World Cup.

Of all the teams, Bolivia – the rank outsiders – were handed the honour of tackling defending champions Germany in the opening match.

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The competition format remained the same as in 1990, comprising six groups of four teams, with Germany, Brazil, Argentina, Belgium, Italy and the USA being seeded.

1998 – Marseilles (France), December 4, 1997

Venue Stade Vélodrome

Teams in Draw 32

 

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For the first time in FIFA’s history, the Final Draw for the World Cup was staged in a football stadium. In an atmosphere of fascinated suspense, 38,000 spectators at the Stade Vélodrome in Marseilles and about a billion TV viewers around the globe watched the familiar ceremony with the plastic balls, names and numbers.

Celebrated football personalities including Franz Beckenbauer, Carlos Alberto Parreira, George Weah and Raymond Kopa took turns to draw the names of the 32 finalist teams and place them in the eight groups under the watchful eye of then FIFA General Secretary Joseph S. Blatter.

The 1998 World Cup was the first with 32 finalists, with one seeded team in each of the eight first-round groups. Germany, Italy, Argentina, Spain, Romania and the Netherlands were seeded along with defending champions Brazil and hosts France.

2002 – Busan (Korea), December 1, 2001

Venue Busan Exhibition & Convention Centre (BEXCO)

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Teams in Draw 32

 

The Final Draw for the 2002 FIFA World Cup provided the world with a spectacular show and the prospect of some very exciting matches. The Korean coastal city of Busan, with its magnificent Busan Exhibition & Convention Centre (BEXCO), was the focus of attention for a draw televised in over 130 countries worldwide. American vocalist Anastacia gave a debut public performance of Boom, the official song of the 2002 FIFA World Cup.

But it was the draw itself that would produce the biggest “boom” of the evening. One group in particular brought gasps from around the auditorium. Group F brought together Argentina, England, Nigeria and Sweden.

The competition format remained the same as in 1998, comprising eight groups of four teams, with title holders France, Brazil, Spain, Germany, Argentina and Italy as well as hosts Korea Republic and Japan being seeded.

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2006 – Leipzig (Germany), December 9, 2005

Venue: Neue Messe

Teams in Draw 32

 

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The Final Draw for the 2006 FIFA World Cup provided the world with an entertaining show, led by personalities such as Heidi Klum, Franz Beckenbauer and South American songster Juanes, who performed his hit number La camisa negra.

  The official FIFA World Cup match ball Teamgeist was launched with assistance from Germany midfielder and captain Michael Ballack.

The Neue Messe in the former East German city of Leipzig was the setting for a show which was watched by an unprecedented audience of 300 million in almost 150 countries worldwide, with draw assistants including the likes of Pelé, Lothar Matthäus, Roger Milla and Johan Cruyff.

The 32 teams were divided into eight groups of four, with Brazil, England, Spain, Mexico, France, Argentina, Italy and hosts Germany all seeded. As usual, there were a few eyebrows raised at the particularly interesting groups, including the usual “Group of Death”, Group C, which comprised Argentina, Côte d’Ivoire, Serbia and Montenegro and the Netherlands.

2010 – Cape Town (RSA), December 4, 2009

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Venue Cape Town International Convention Centre (CTICC)

Teams in draw 32

 

The 2010 FIFA World Cup final draw show was broadcast to more than 250 million viewers across the globe. FIFA’s Secretary General Jerôme Valcke conducted thedraw together with South African actress Charlize Theron.

They were joined on stage by a star-studded line-up of sports celebrities, including football star David Beckham (England), one of only a few players to score in at least three consecutive FIFA World Cups, Haile Gebrselassie (Ethiopia), two-time Olympic gold medallist and nine-time athletics world champion, Makhaya Ntini, the first black player in the South African cricket team, John Smit, the captain of rugby world champions South Africa and Bafana Bafana player Matthew Booth.

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As for the previous FIFA World Cup the 32 teams were divided into eight groups of four, with Argentina, Brazil, England, Germany, Italy, Netherlands, Spain, and hosts South Africa all seeded. The toughest draw was definitely the one of five-time champions Brazil having to play Portugal and Africa’s strongest team Cote d’Ivoire and North Korea.

2014 –  Mata de Sao Joao, Bahia (Brazil), December 6, 2013

 

Venue: Costa do Sauípe Resort,

 Teams in draw 32

In preparation for the final draw, the 32 participating teams were organized into four pots based on seedings and geographic regions.

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It was announced in October 2013 that the eight seeded teams to feature in Pot 1 would consist of the host nation Brazil and the seven highest-ranked teams as of that month’s FIFA World Rankings.

Following a meeting of the competition’s organising committee on 3 December, the composition of the other three pots was announced.

Kunle Solaja is the author of landmark books on sports and journalism as well as being a multiple award-winning journalist and editor of long standing. He is easily Nigeria’s foremost soccer diarist and Africa's most capped FIFA World Cup journalist, having attended all FIFA World Cup finals from Italia ’90 to Qatar 2022. He was honoured at the Qatar 2022 World Cup by FIFA and AIPS.

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Manu Garba proud of Eaglets as team countenances Niger Republic

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Coach Manu Garba has asserted that he is proud of the Golden Eaglets after Thursday’s scoreless encounter with their Burkina Faso counterparts in the Group B opener of the WAFU B U17 Championship.

 Five-time champions Nigeria created several scoring chances particularly late in the game at the Accra University Stadium, but failed to utilise even one that could have earned them the three points and handed them early leadership of the pool.

 However, Garba said the boys played a cohesive game in their first-ever international outing and deserve credit for their display.

 “We are proud of our team’s performance. Although we didn’t secure the win that we hoped for, our players showed great teamwork and sportsmanship. We look forward to our next match and the opportunity to continue growing and improving.

 “The boys will get better with experience and exposure.”

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 Against the Burkinabes, the Eaglets showed flair and fluency, but a heavy downpour in the final 15 minutes of the game disrupted the general flow of play, with the pitch waterlogged and effective control and passing impossible.

 The Golden Eaglets go up against their counterparts from the Niger Republic on Sunday evening (6pm Ghana time; 7pm Nigeria) with renewed hope and vigour to pick up the three points that will enhance their chances of a place in the last four.

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Paris to face major disruption ahead of Games opening ceremony, says police chief

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Paris will face major disruption ahead of the Olympics opening ceremony along the Seine on July 26, as organisers ramp up security measures to safeguard the event, the city’s police chief said on Thursday.

Organisers hope the opening ceremony, in which 160 boats carrying athletes from around the world will travel a 6 kilometre route along the Seine river towards the Eiffel tower, will deliver a jaw-dropping spectacle. Some 300,000 spectators will watch from the banks of the Seine as a global audience tunes in on TV.

But the ceremony is also a major security headache, taking place against a backdrop of wars in Ukraine and Gaza. French President Emmanuel Macron has already floated the possibility of scrapping the river ceremony and reverting to at least two back-up plans if the security risks become untenable.

Paris residents with a view of the Seine can invite friends to watch the opening of the 2024 Summer Games from their balconies, but should prepare for heavy traffic and limited movement, Paris police chief Laurent Nunez said at a press conference.

Adjacent metro stations, most river crossings and all water traffic will be halted in the week before the open-air ceremony, Nunez said, adding that some bridges will remain open “in order not to cut Paris in two halves.”

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Everyone who wants to access the immediate surroundings of the Seine in the week before the Games will need to sign up on an online platform, Nunez said. Local residents hoping to access their homes, which are among the most prestigious addresses in France, will need to do the same.

Paris mayor Anne Hidalgo, who also spoke at the event said the disruption would impact around 20,000 residents and business owners.

Asked about Macron’s comments earlier this month, Nunez said his teams were still working on the ‘Plan A’ of the river ceremony.

“As of today, we have no reason to be worried,” Nunez said.

-Reuters

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New dawn expected as Nigeria sports ministry partners with Yanga Games

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Towards creating a new dawn for Nigerian Sports,  the Federal Ministry  of Sports has signed a landmark  agreement with  top lottery  company Yanga Games to raise the revenue profile of the Ministry  and ensure a new deal for the welfare of athletes. 

Speaking during the unveiling  of the partnership between  the Ministry  and  Yanga  Games in Lagos on Friday,  Chairman/CEO of Yanga Games  Derrick  David Kentebe  said: “we are so super excited by this opportunity to work  with the Ministry  of Sports Development to change the narrative about Sports in the country. 

Continuing, he remarked: “We see opportunity for marketing our athletes  and sports generally . We shall avail ourselves  the best use  of this unique and  special partnership. We shall pursue this mandate with vigour, passion and unrivaled  commitment  to bring benefits to all the critical stakeholders.”

The agreement  according  to Kentebe  will provide  support for retired athletes, enhance grassroot  sports Development and advance the potentials of  special athletes.

He assured that ” Yanga Games has the capacity to  raise funds on behalf of the Ministry  of Sports for athletes  Development, endorsement and sponsorship deals for athletes”. 

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Minister of Sports Senator John Owan Enoh assured that the Ministry has total and absolute  confidence  in Yanga Games to deliver on the given mandate.

“Gone are the era when we depended solely  on government  to fund sports  development.  We are partnering with  Yanga Games to bring maximum  benefits  to the athletes and all critical stakeholders.

“We shall give institutional encouragement and support to the Management of  Yanga Games to succeed in this onerous task of rebuilding our sports sub sector.”

Speaking further, Kentebe  said ” We shall raise about 34 Billion in the next four years to assist athletes and improve sports in the country.

“We shall help to develop  grassroot  sports and  sustain youth involvement  through raffle draws, fund raiser and other avenues.

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