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  1. Wales, Republic of Ireland, Austria, Serbia, Moldova, Georgia
  2. England, Scotland, Slovakia, Slovenia, Lithuania, Malta
  3. Northern Ireland, Germany, Czech Republic, Norway, Azerbaijan, San Marino

Live Reporting

By Emlyn Begley

All times stated are UK

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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.

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Greece & Cyprus in the same WorldCup qualifying group! Should be interesting. England guaranteed to get to Russia, great group! #bbcfootball

England has double the population of rest of group *combined*. No excuse for not topping group #bbcfootball

Waking to the news of England's favorable #WorldCup2018 draw. Surely the pot is ours now. #bbcfootball #ComeOnEngland!!

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. 

You can read our developing story  of the draw here,  with reaction from a few managers.

If you want to read the African draw, here's the link.

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
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Ireland qualifying stat
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This is the 20th World Cup qualifying campaign. The inaugural 1930 tournament was invitational.

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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!

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."

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
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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.

Stat attack

6 - England have won six of their last seven international matches against Scotland (L1). Rivalry.

100 - England have a 100% win record against all the teams in their WC 2018 qualifying group (W11), bar Scotland. Fancied.

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I think Group I (Croatia, Iceland, Turkey, Ukraine, Finland) will be the closest group as the teams are all equally as good #bbcfootball

Malta vs England. My country vs My supporting nation. Decisions, decisions... #bbcfootball

Pretty comfortable group for #England in #WorldCup2018 qualifying with added bonus of couple of tasty groups against #Scotland #bbcfootball

Reaction from England boss Roy Hodgson coming up soon.

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."

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." 

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Wales have to perform Austria and Serbia are two very good teams #PrelimDraw #WorldCup2018 #bbcfootball

#bbcfootball as an England fan I'm more happy with the draw for sentimental reasons rather than an easy group! Chance to relive the old days

I am already groaning at the amount of fuss that will be made about England and Scotland being in the same WC qualifying group #bbcfootball

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

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
Getty Images

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

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

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Sad that we got Germany but we could aim for second if we can get some good away points in Norway and Czech Republic. #bbcfootball #Gawa

@BBCSport ❤️ the Italy/Spain & Holland/France draws. #Wales have a good chance to finally make it. #England v #Scotland 👍🏽🇬🇧 #bbcfootball

In the same qualifying group as the World Champions?....pffft not a problem for us!!! GAWA #bbcfootball

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I'd have been happier in Group A. England really need to play tougher teams on a regular basis #bbcfootball

@igm1942: The 'Auld enemy' in qualifying? Great draw! #bbcfootball

well so much for Bulgaria's chances... #bbcfootball

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."

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.

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Well well well, England and Scotland will go to battle in #WorldCup2018 qualifiers. Good draw for England. #bbcfootball

Very good draw for Wales and great chance to qualify for 2018 World Cup #bbcfootball

Happy with that draw. At last England will be given a game by us #Scots They've had it too easy in the last few qualifiers #BBCfootball

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.

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Im quite happy with poland group it's gonna be great to watch if we(poles) can make it to the world cup 2018!#bbcfootball

Easy draw for Scotland !! Bring on the World Cup in Russia, be great to be back in the major tournaments !!! #bbcfootball

finally, a chance to put England out of the World Cup! Cheers Sepp! #bbcfootball

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
Germany graphic

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)

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In fairness, Spain got Italy, Scotland England. Good group and nothing too tough. Cardiff, Wien, Beograd, Tbilisi and Chisinau. #bbcfootball

That draw is confirmation that @England have qualified for the 2018 FIFA World Cup in Russia #bbcfootball

How come England always get the easy group..? #bbcfootball

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.

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
Getty Images

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

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

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

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

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

BBC Sport

Group A: Luxembourg

Group B: Andorra

Group C: San Marino

Group D: Georgia

Group E:  Kazakhstan

Group F: Malta

Group G: Liechtenstein