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Live Reporting

Emlyn Begley

All times stated are UK

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  1. Post update

    So that's the end of the road for this live text, thanks for your company and interaction.

    Only a couple of hours to go until our next football text coverage, with Manchester United facing Barcelona and Chelsea playing PSG in friendlies that wouldn't look out of place in the Champions League semi-finals.

  2. Get Involved

  3. Stat attack

    Northern Ireland won just one of their World Cup 2014 qualifiers (D4 L5), but have won four of six in Euro 2016 qualification. Upturn.

    Wales took 10 points from their World Cup 2014 qualifying group. In Euro 2016 qualification, they have 14 points already. Top. 

  4. Scotland winger has his say

  5. Post update

    Roy Hodgson on whether he will still be England manager for the 2018 qualifiers.

    “It is a great honour to be England manager – I shall be delighted to retain that position all the time people want me too, but it won’t occupy my thoughts at this point in time," he told BBC Radio 5 live. 

    "I'm pleased to come away with a good group and if England want me to lead the team I will be delighted to do so.

    "If we can come through Euro 2016 without too many tears being shed I believe we have a good chance of qualifying for 2018.

    "It is positive, so many other groups would have been more problematic, not least for fans travelling, some are not such easy countries to get to, but we’ve been drawn not only nice places but easy to get to as well."

    Roy Hodgson
  6. Post update

    Ireland qualifying stat
    Image caption: This is the 20th World Cup qualifying campaign. The inaugural 1930 tournament was invitational.
  7. Get Involved

    Text 81111 (UK only)

    Nathan in Belfast:  Disappointed Northern Ireland got landed with Germany but we could make a dash for the play-offs if we can take points away at Norway at Czech Republic. Although let's qualify for Euro 2016 first!

  8. Post update

    Because England had to be in a six-team group for commercial reasons, it became obvious they'd have to be in Scotland or Italy's group.

    Roy Hodgson told BBC Radio 5 live:  “I don’t want to suggest Italy are stronger than Scotland, but we have played a lot of games against Italy recently and I thought that group with the rest of the teams in it looked more tricky than the group we have found ourselves in.

    "We know Slovenia and Malta are very keen on English football, while Slovakia from the second pot, although they have had a good spell, maybe do not have the allure of France and Italy, who may cause us more problems."

  9. Post update

    England boss Roy Hodgson on BBC Radio 5 live: “To be fair there is always a chance we were going to get a local derby with Scotland, Northern Ireland and the Republic of Ireland all a possibility.

    “The Scotland fixture really does excite people. We have got recent experience of what the atmosphere will be like. The games will excite the public, get people in the mass media excited too, it is a good draw all round – I think Scotland will be happy with it and we are happy with it."

    “I don’t want to suggest Italy are stronger than Scotland, b

    Roy Hodgson
  10. Get Involved

    Text 81111 (UK only)

    Alistair:  Scotland need to block out that friendly last year 60,000 Scots fans treated like a World Cup final when England's B team (featuring Stewart Downing) beat them 3-1 while playing at 25%.

     Donald in Ellon, Aberdeenshire:  Scotland nothing to lose. England everything to lose. Bring it on!

    Steve:  At least Scotland get their little World Cup final without even getting there.

  11. Stat attack

  12. Get Involved

  13. Post update

    Reaction from England boss Roy Hodgson coming up soon.

  14. Post update

    Pat Nevin

    Ex-Scotland international on BBC Radio 5 live

    "Germany are not unbeatable, they've shown that in their Euro 2016 group. They're struggling against Poland. Northern Ireland had that brilliant run of form but it'll be tough for them. Czech Republic are a good side. There was a time Northern Ireland might slip up against the minnows but they won't have a problem with San Marino.

    "I have such a positive feeling about all the home nations and Republic of Ireland."

  15. Post update

    John Murray

    BBC Radio 5 live commentator

    "In previous times there would be meetings between officials and coaches to work out the fixture lists. But now it's all worked out for them." 

  16. Get Involved

  17. Post update

    Ex-Republic of Ireland striker John Aldridge on BBC Radio 5 live: "It's an interesting group. With all due respect to Wales you think fantastic, we haven't got Germany, Netherlands or Spain - no big boys. Austria are coming good - they go around in cycles. It's a cut-throat group, anything can happen.

    "Robbie Keane is getting on and there's nobody coming through in that area. That's a major worry. Nobody is playing in the big teams in the Premier League. All the players give their all but at the moment we're very ordinary."

    John Aldridge
  18. Post update

    Pat Nevin

    Ex-Scotland international on BBC Radio 5 live

    "England are used to easy games being in pot one. Scotland get more difficult games in pot three. We will not be overconfident and not too arrogant but it'll be a special one. I'm looking forward to those games already."

    Wayne Rooney
  19. Post update

    Wales boss Chris Coleman on BBC Radio 5 live: "We're looking forward to it. Some good teams in there. It's never easy going to places like Moldova and Georgia and we know about the quality of Austria, Republic of Ireland and Serbia. 

    "But we've really improved in the last three years. We fancy ourselves against anyone. You look at other groups - it could have been easier or tougher. There's a lot of football to go in the Euro 2016 qualifiers before this. 

    "This has been the biggest honour of my career. My sole focus is on leading my country to France. After that I'll look at what's next.

    "We've had a bit of fun being in pot one. It's new for us. We've really enjoyed it."

    Chris Coleman
  20. Wales 'should be delighted'

    Pat Nevin

    Ex-Scotland international on BBC Radio 5 live

     "Wales have been improving - they should be delighted with what they've got. Derby games have a habit of throwing up a strange one. Moldova and Georgia should be beaten. Serbia might the the most dangerous one in that group. If Wales play to their best, they have a chance of winning that group."  

    Gareth Bale
  21. Get Involved

  22. Get Involved

  23. Wales 'should be delighted'

    "Wales have been improving - they should be delighted with what they've got. Derby games have a habit of throwing up a strange one. Moldova and Georgia should be beaten. Serbia might the the most dangerous one in that group. If Wales play to their best, they have a chance of winning that group."

  24. Where's Gibraltar?


    In case anyone wonder where Gibraltar are in all of this, they're only members of Uefa - not Fifa - so aren't eligible for the World Cup.

  25. Get Involved

  26. Post update

    The feed on this page and BBC Red Button has ended now. But we will keep our World Cup debate going on for a bit longer.

  27. Get Involved

  28. Post update

    The Fifa show is continuing with Russia's 2015 Eurovision entry, A Million Voices, sung by Polina Gagarina and the St Petersburg childrens choir.

    Obviously I had to google that.

    Russia World Cup draw
  29. Post update

    Germany graphic
  30. Post update

    Other match-ups that catch the eye outside of the home nations are Netherlands v France and Spain v Italy. Two of those teams will be in the play-offs (at best)

  31. Get Involved

  32. Post update

    Oliver Bierhoff says he was happy Germany avoided Italy.

    Aleksandr Kerzhakov says there are no favourites and he's happy Russia don't need to qualify.

  33. Post update

    So England and Scotland in one group together. And Wales play Republic of Ireland in another. Northern Ireland have Germany and Czech Republic.


    Olivier Bierhoff
  34. Post update

    Group A: Netherlands, France, Sweden, Bulgaria, Belarus, Luxembourg

    Group B: Portugal, Switzerland, Hungary, Faroe Islands, Latvia, Andorra

    Group C: Germany, Czech Republic,  NORTHERN IRELAND,  Norway, Azerbaijan, San Marino

    Group D: WALES,  Austria, Serbia, Republic of Ireland, Moldova, Georgia, 

    Group E: Romania, Denmark, Poland, Montenegro, Armenia, Kazakhstan

    Group F: ENGLAND,  Slovakia,  SCOTLAND,  Malta, Lithuania, Slovenia

    Group G: Spain, Italy, Albania, Israel, Macedonia, Liechtenstein

    Group H: Belgium, Bosnia-Hercegovina, Greece, Estonia, Cyprus

    Group I : Croatia, Iceland, Ukraine, Turkey, Finland

  35. Post update

    Group A: France, Sweden, Bulgaria, Belarus, Luxembourg

    Group B: Switzerland, Hungary, Faroe Islands, Latvia, Andorra

    Group C: Czech Republic,  NORTHERN IRELAND,  Norway, Azerbaijan, San Marino

    Group D: Austria, Serbia, Republic of Ireland, Moldova, Georgia

    Group E: Denmark, Poland, Montenegro, Armenia, Kazakhstan

    Group F: Slovakia,  SCOTLAND,  Malta, Lithuania, Slovenia

    Group G: Italy, Albania, Israel, Macedonia, Liechtenstein

    Group H: Bosnia-Hercegovina, Greece, Estonia, Cyprus

    Group I : Iceland, Ukraine, Turkey, Finland

  36. Post update

    Group A: Sweden, Bulgaria, Belarus, Luxembourg

    Group B: Hungary, Faroe Islands, Latvia, Andorra

    Group C: NORTHERN IRELAND,  Norway, Azerbaijan, San Marino

    Group D: Serbia, Republic of Ireland, Moldova, Georgia

    Group E: Poland, Montenegro, Armenia, Kazakhstan

    Group F: SCOTLAND,  Slovenia, Lithuania, Malta

    Group G: Albania, Israel, Macedonia, Liechtenstein

    Group H: Greece, Estonia, Cyprus

    Group I : Ukraine, Turkey, Finland

  37. Post update

    Group A: Bulgaria, Belarus, Luxembourg

    Group B: Faroe Islands, Latvia, Andorra

    Group C: Norway, Azerbaijan, San Marino

    Group D: Republic of Ireland, Moldova, Georgia

    Group E: Montenegro, Armenia, Kazakhstan, Armenia

    Group F: Slovenia, Lithuania, Malta

    Group G: Israel, Macedonia, Liechtenstein 

    Group H: Estonia, Cyprus

    Group I : Turkey, Finland

  38. Post update

    Group A: Luxembourg, Belarus

    Group B: Andorra, Latvia

    Group C: San Marino, Azerbaijan

    Group D: Georgia, Moldova

    Group E: Kazakhstan, Armenia

    Group F: Malta, Lithuania

    Group G: Liechtenstein, Macedonia

    Group H: Cyprus

    Group I: Finland

  39. Post update

    Group A: Luxembourg

    Group B: Andorra

    Group C: San Marino

    Group D: Georgia

    Group E:  Kazakhstan

    Group F: Malta

    Group G: Liechtenstein

  40. Post update

    Here we go. We're drawing out pot six (the minnows) first and working our way up to the top seeds (England and Wales).

  41. Post update

    Russia's all-time top scorer Aleksandr Kerzhakov is on stage. Says they'll "rightly hold the World Cup".

    Ex-Germany striker Oliver Bierhoff is the other draw-er.

    World Cup draw
  42. Post update

    Roy Hodgson
    Quote Message: I'm not going to tempt fate by stating who England might want to play or avoid and besides, that would be disrespectful. We've seen in the recent Euro 2016 qualification period that virtually all competitive matches are difficult. from Roy Hodgson England boss
    Roy HodgsonEngland boss
  43. Post update

    Mark Hughes
    Image caption: Mark Hughes was one of many Wales players, and then managers, who failed to qualify for anything
    Quote Message: If you're a top seed then maybe the challenge isn't as great. It's a huge advantage and credit to everybody concerned with Welsh football from Mark Hughes Ex-Wales boss, now Stoke manager
    Mark HughesEx-Wales boss, now Stoke manager
  44. Post update

    Gordon Strachan
    Quote Message: I've never been one for hoping that we avoid this team or wishing that we draw that team. It's disrespectful to the other nations and it's also pointless - you can't control names that come out of a glass bowl from Gordon Strachan Scotland boss
    Gordon StrachanScotland boss
  45. Post update

  46. Post update


    There won't be many teams in today's draw who have had as meteoric a rise as Wales.

    They were ranked 117th in August 2011, but less than four years later they are top of their Euro 2016 qualifying group as they bid to reach a first tournament since the 1958 World Cup.

    They are ranked 10th in the world and top seeds today, alongside England.

  47. The pots

    Format might be familiar to you by now. One team from each pot drawn into a group. Two groups only have five teams (nobody from pot 6). The bigger countries, including England, can't go into a five-team group for broadcasting/commercial reasons.

    Pot 1: Germany, Belgium, Holland, Portugal, Romania, England, Wales, Spain, Croatia 

    Pot 2: Slovakia, Austria, Italy, Switzerland, Czech Republic, France, Iceland, Denmark, Bosnia-Hercegovina 

    Pot 3: Ukraine, Scotland, Poland, Hungary, Sweden, Albania, Northern Ireland, Serbia, Greece 

    Pot 4 : Turkey, Slovenia, Israel, Republic of Ireland, Norway, Bulgaria, Faroe Islands, Montenegro, Estonia 

    Pot 5: Cyprus, Latvia, Armenia, Finland, Belarus, Macedonia, Azerbaijan, Lithuania, Moldova 

    Pot 6: Kazakhstan, Luxembourg, Liechtenstein, Georgia, Malta, San Marino, Andorra 

  48. Post update

    World Cup 2018
    Image caption: Armenia and Azerbaijan are in the same pot anyway so that avoids that headache
  49. Europe

    Image caption: World champions Germany do not automatically qualify to defend their title

    Russia qualify as hosts, with Europe's other 52 teams being drawn into nine groups (seven of six teams and two of five sides). The top team from each group qualify with the eight best second-placed sides playing off.

  50. Antarctica

    Now Antarctica qualifying - this is where it gets really interesting. All 15 teams go into three pots of five and then... OK there isn't really Antarctica qualifying.

    Image caption: I'll be honest, half my preparation for this live text was spent looking up pictures of penguins in Antarctica
  51. Post update

    Some jazz now. European draw starts in about five minutes. 

    Jazz Club
  52. Get Involved

    That's me told! Our South American football expert has spoken.

  53. South America qualifying

    Group stage

    One big group, the top four qualify - with fifth place going into a play-off against the Oceania champions (probably New Zealand).

    From position 1-10 in the draw...











  54. Get Involved

  55. Post update


    Ronaldo is taking this seriously.

  56. Post update

    Diego Forlan is on stage with Ronaldo now for this most pointless of all the draws. Remember in South America everyone is in a big group. They're only deciding what 'position' each team is, to determine in which order teams play each other.

    Diego Forlan
  57. But what does Diego think?

    I know, I know. Look, I know what you're thinking. We're all thinking it.

    What does Diego Forlan think about Wales' World Cup qualifying hopes?

    Luckily BBC Wales Sport found out.

    "Wales are getting stronger and stronger. Maybe they will have the chance.

    "Everything is equal, there are no favourites. It is really tough to play football, it does not matter what national team is in front of you.

    "There are always surprises and many good players in Wales, most of them play in the Premier League. You have to respect that."

    Diego Forlan
    Image caption: Diego Forlan is still playing at the age of 36, recently joining Penarol
  58. Ronaldo's dream

    Amazing. Original Brazilian Ronaldo is on stage. He's asked what his dream is.

    "Seeing a world free of violence, hunger and poverty."

    It's like Miss World.

    Brazilian Ronaldo
  59. Get Involved

  60. South America

    Image caption: 'The Beautiful Game'

    It's pretty straightforward in South America. All 10 teams go into one group so all we'll discover today is who plays who in what order. 

    The only slight complication is that Argentina and Brazil are already designated specific places so nobody has to play them in back-to-back games in a week. 

    The top four teams qualify, with the fifth-placed team going into an intercontinental play-off.

  61. Oceania draw

    Group Stage

    Group A

    Winner of Round One between American Samoa, Cook Islands, Samoa and Tonga

    Papua New Guinea

    New Caledonia


    Group B

    New Zealand



    Solomon Islands

  62. Get Involved

  63. Post update

    Sepp Blatter

    If you thought this draw was convulted today, remember it could have been - and has been - worse.

    The draw for the 1982 World Cup suffered from a number of mishaps and technical problems.

    With Sepp Blatter, now Fifa's president but then the governing body's general secretary, presiding over the draw in Madrid, there was confusion as several teams were drawn in the wrong groups, before the cages began to jam and break the balls inside.

    Watch the video here.

  64. Get Involved

  65. Oceania

    Chris Wood
    Image caption: New Zealand have been Oceania's representatives in the play-off both times since Australia left for Asia

    American Samoa, Cook Islands, Samoa and Tonga will contest an opening group. The winners of that join the seven other countries in two groups of four teams (which doubles as the OFC Nations Cup). 

    The top three teams from each of those groups then go into two further groups of three. The winners of each group face off in the final, with the victor playing an intercontinental play-off. 

    It's not for me to suggest this but they may have overcomplicated this a bit, but there's only 11 teams in the whole thing.

  66. Post update

    We're about seven minutes behind now. So the European one might be a bit after 17:30 BST now. Next up...

    Welcome to Russia
  67. Northern Ireland

    Best and worst

    Dream ticket:

    Northern Ireland, Romania, Iceland, Faroe Islands, Moldova

    Nightmare scenario:

    Northern Ireland, Spain, France, Republic of Ireland, Belarus, Malta

  68. Get Involved

  69. Get Involved

  70. Concacaf draw

    The Groups are in

    Group A



    Curacao/El Salvador


    Group B


    Costa Rica



    Group C

    Trinidad & Tobago


    St Vincent & Grenadines/Aruba

    Antigua & Barbuda/Guatemala

  71. Post update

    Some ballet now. The Borus Eifman Ballet apparently. I can't say I'm familiar with this one.

    Russian ballet
  72. Wales

    Best and worst

    Dream ticket:

    Wales, Bosnia & Hercegovina, Albania, Faroe Islands, Moldova

    Nightmare scenario:

    Wales, France, Ukraine, Turkey, Cyprus, Georgia

  73. Get Involved

    Text 81111 (UK only)

    Martin in York:  Is it just me or is there a distinctly Eurovision vibe to this draw?

  74. Concacaf draw

    They're now deciding who will be in the group that follows that round.

  75. Concacaf draw

    Round Three

    Curacao v El Salvador

    Canada v Belize

    Grenada v Haiti

    Jamaica v Nicaragua

    St Vincent and Grenadines v Aruba

    Antigua and Barbuda v Guatemala

  76. England

    Best and worst

    Dream ticket:

    England, Iceland, Albania, Faroe Islands, Moldova, Andorra

    Nightmare scenario:

    England, Italy, Sweden, Turkey, Finland, Kazakhstan

  77. Post update

    Patrick Kluivert's Curacao are the first team out in Concacaf. They face El Salvador in round three.

  78. African draw

    Round Two

    Two-legged ties, played November 9/17:

    Somalia/Niger v Cameroon

    South Sudan/Mauritania v Tunisia

    Gambia/Namibia v Guinea

    Sao Tome e Principe/Ethiopia v Congo

    Chad/Sierra Leone v Egypt

    Comoros/Lesotho v Ghana

    Djibouti/Swaziland v Nigeria

    Eritrea/Botswana v Mali

    Seychelles/Burundi v Congo DR

    Liberia/Guinea-Bissau v Ivory Coast

    Central African Republic/Madagascar v Senegal

    Mauritius/Kenya v Cape Verde

    Tanzania/Malawi v Algeria

    Sudan v Zambia

    Libya v Rwanda

    Morocco v Equatorial Guinea

    Mozambique v Gabon

    Benin v Burkina Faso

    Togo v Uganda

    Angola v South Africa      

  79. North, Central America and the Caribbean

    Patrick Kluivert
    Image caption: Patrick Kluivert is head coach of Curacao, who find out their third-round opponents today

    Qualifiers in North America have already started with two rounds completed. The 10 teams who have come through that, as well as Jamaica and Haiti, will be drawn in two-legged encounters. 

    After that the bigger teams will come in for two more rounds of group stages. Three teams qualify automatically from the final 'Hexagonal' group with a fourth entering the intercontinental play-offs.

  80. African draw

    Round One

    Ties to be played between October 5 & 13

    Somalia v Niger

    South Sudan v Mauritania

    Gambia v Namibia

    Sao Tome e Principe v Ethiopia

    Chad v Sierra Leone 

    Comoros v Lesotho

    Dijibouti v Swaziland

    Eritrea v Botswana

    Seychelles v Burundi

    Liberia v Guinea-Bissau

    Central African Republic v Madagascar

    Mauritius v Kenya

    Tanzania v Malawi

    The winners of each tie progress to round two.

  81. Asia

    Asia  is the only continent without a draw today - qualification is already under way there.

     Four teams go through, with a fifth going into the intercontinental play-off.

    They are having a little chat about Asian football. North American draw starts very soon.

  82. Get Involved

  83. Post update

    There's some opera signing now. The voiceover guy says you'll recognise the music no matter what the language. I didn't...

    We're a few minutes behind schedule by the way.

    Russian Opera singers
  84. African draw

  85. Get Involved

  86. Post update

    There are 851 qualification games
    Image caption: It is only two short of the 853-game record for 2010 qualificiation
  87. Post update

    The African draw is still going by the way, nearly finished. We'll let you know how that's gone once it's all finished.

    Rinat Sasev
  88. 'European teams should boycott World Cup'

    European teams should "force the issue" of boycotting the 2018 World Cup, says former Football Association chairman David Triesman.

    He cited the controversy regarding the process which led to the winning bid and racism issues in Russian football.

    "My basic proposition was that Uefa as a whole should do it and the key reason was to force change through Fifa," he told BBC Sport.

    "That change has not happened. I think it's worth trying to force the issue."

  89. Get Involved

  90. Scotland

    Best and worst

    Dream ticket:

    Scotland, Wales, Iceland, Estonia, Lithuania

    Nightmare scenario:

    Scotland, Germany, Italy, Turkey, Macedonia, Kazakhstan

  91. Get Involved

  92. Get Involved

    Paul Alexander on the BBC Sport Facebook page: As a Welshman, I'd like our group to contain the Isle of Wight, Isle of Man, Jersey, Lapland and Scotland.

    Well I suppose if Gibraltar are allowed in Uefa...

  93. Post update

    Cameroon legend Samuel Eto'o has just drawn out his country out in the African draw. It's a Cameroon face 'either-or' job at this stage as they come into the second round. We'll let you know at the end of this long draw who's got who in Africa.

  94. Get Involved

  95. What are the best - and worst - scenarios for the home nations?

    As top seeds, England and Wales have guaranteed avoiding the other top sides in Europe. Theoretically.

    However, from pot two they could still face Italy (currently ranked 17 in the world) or France (ranked 22), while trips to the likes of Sweden, Poland or Ukraine would prove tricky.

    Wales, Northern Ireland and Scotland could be drawn into a group of five teams instead of six - which may help their chances. England must play in a group of six.

    Throughout the live text we'll tell you what we think are the best and worst-case scenarios from each one.

  96. Africa

    Pierre-Emerick Aubameyang
    Image caption: Gabon's Pierre-Emerick Aubameyang is one of the stars of African football

    First up in the 'proper' draws, it's Africa.

    The 26 lowest-ranked sides will be drawn in two-legged encounters to be played in October. 

    The winners of those will then be joined by the other 27 for a second two-legged round. 

    The second-round victors go through to five four-team groups, with the winners of each qualifying for Russia. 

    Zimbabwe have already been expelled for failing to pay former coach Jose Claudinei Georgini.

  97. Post update


    So this means the fourth best sides in Asia and North America meet, while the Oceania champions (normally New Zealand) face South America's fifth best side.

  98. Get Involved

  99. Draw rehearsal

    Phil Wye

    BBC Radio 5 live in St Petersburg

    In the second and final draw rehearsal earlier - for anyone interested - the home nations pulled out the following:

    England, Bosnia, Greece, Israel, Moldova, San Marino (England would take that);

    Wales, Italy, Serbia, Estonia, Armenia, Luxembourg (Wales might not take that);

    Netherlands, France, Scotland, Republic of Ireland, Belarus, Andorra (would be tough for Scots & Irish);

    Portugal, Denmark, Northern Ireland, Bulgaria, Macedonia (NI might take that.. & party).

  100. Post update

    They're now deciding who faces who in the intercontinental play-offs for the World Cup. South America, North America, Oceania and Asia are the four.

    Fifa flag
  101. Get involved

    Text 81111 (UK only)

    Andrew in Richhill:  Hugely important couple of hours coming up for the Home Nations' hopes of making it to the 2018 World Cup. This year's European Championship qualifiers have shown that all of England, Scotland, Wales, Nothern Ireland and the Republic of Ireland are competitive enough and capable of mixing it with the best in Europe. The chances of World Cup qualification are good, a decent draw would really help matters too. 

  102. Get Involved

  103. Post update

    Woeful banter as Fifa general secretary Jerome Valcke starts flirting and kissing the female host.

  104. Get Involved

    This your first Fifa ceremony pal?

  105. Post update

    The Hulk
    Image caption: You won't like Brazil international Hulk when he's angry

    Zenit St Petersburg striker Hulk has been replaced as a draw assistant today by Russian Alexey Smertin "due to the Brazilian's club commitments".

    Earlier this week Hulk said racism happens at "almost every game" in the Russian league.

    Those two incidents are totally unrelated I'm sure.

  106. Post update

    And now the dancers are doing some freestyle football skills. What a world (cup qualifying draw).

    Russian performers
  107. Post update

    Oh my, it's a Russian-sounding instrumental 'Let's get the Party Started' by Pink with a lot of dancing in traditional outfits. I was not expecting that.

    Russian performers
  108. Post update

    Now we've got some traditional Russian music and dancing and people dressed as weird stuff. I might just give you more details on the draw to be honest.

    Russian dancers
  109. Blatter speech well received

    Sepp Blatter gets a good round of applause as he finishes his speech and thanks Russian President Vlad Putin. 

  110. Record-breaking qualifying campaign

    World Cup stat
    Image caption: Indonesia and Zimbabwe have been disqualified, while Russia qualify automatically. Every other team is attempting to qualify.
  111. Get Involved

  112. Post update

    "There is no bigger event than Fifa's World Cup. It will be a wonderful moment for the people of Russia, the rest of the world and football too.

    "Hundreds of thousands of people will come to Russia for the first time in their lives. They'll be met with warmth, friendship and real Russian hospitality," Blatter continues.

  113. Post update

    Sepp Blatter and Vladimir Putin
    Image caption: Sepp Blatter and Russian President Vladimir Putin have been hanging around together today

    This is outgoing* president Sepp Blatter's first overseas trip since Fifa was plunged into turmoil by criminal investigations into allegations of systematic bribery.

    But he is "a victim", according to the man in charge of the Russia 2018 World Cup.

    Alexei Sorokin told the BBC that the 79-year-old Swiss was "a very brave person".

    "He has always been a friend of our country," said Sorokin.  

    *by outgoing I mean he's leaving, not he loves to mingle at parties.

  114. Post update

    Oh actually he's doing some of his speech in English! 

    "For the first time all 209 Fifa countries have applied to qualify," Sepp tells us. And then gives a shout-out to Bhutan who got through the first round of Asian qualifying.

    Sepp Blatter
  115. Post update

    Vladimir Putin's speech was warmly applauded. Sepp Blatter is speaking now. I'm just waiting for the translating man to start doing his job

  116. Post update

    Phil Wye

    BBC Radio 5 live in St Petersburg


    Konstantin Palace, St Petersburg - not too shabby. 

  117. Putin speaks

    Vladimir Putin is speaking (in Russian obviously) and Roy Hodgson is holding a translating box up to his ear.

    "The World Cup will definitely enhance the reputation of football in one of the biggest countries in the world. It's wonderful for the neighbouring countries too," he says.

    "It's crucial for us to make the teams feel comfortable so they can focus on the games. We will make every attempt to guarantee security."

  118. Post update

    Fifa president Sepp Blatter and Russia President Vladimir Putin come onto the stage to a gentle smattering of applause. Very gentle.

    Sepp Blatter and Vladimar Putin
  119. Get Involved

    A simple enough debate topic, let us know who you support and who you want your side to draw, whether you're backing England, Northern Ireland or Cape Verde.

    Use #bbcfootball on Twitter, 81111 on text (UK only, please let us know your name) or on our Facebook pages. 

  120. OK so what's going on?

    Here's the timeline for today. We'll let you know the format for each one and who's playing who - as well as building up to the European draw throughout our live text. It won't surprise you to know there'll also be some video montages, acts and waffle between these times.

    16:20 - Continental play-off draw (deciding whether the fifth-best South American side will face Oceania champions, an Asian side or North American and so on.)

    16:22 - Africa draw

    16:50 - North America draw

    17:05 - Oceania draw

    17:13 - South America draw

    17:27 - Europe draw

  121. It's that time again

    People dressed as Santa Claus
    Image caption: Just like the build-up to Christmas, the World Cup qualifying draw seems to get earlier and earlier

    If your first thought when seeing this live text was "They're doing the draw for the next World Cup but we're barely over halfway through Euro 2016 qualifying?!" then you're not alone.

    That was my reaction when I was asked to do this during the week.

    But it's happening and there's no better place to follow it than here - you can watch the whole thing live on this page as well as follow my chat and have your say.