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Sports

Recipe for the World Cup pots

Who plays who at the World Cup in Brazil? That will be decided at the draw for the group stage on Friday. FIFA has laid out the exact method for the process.

It's clear that the German national team faces the threat of a group of death at Friday's World Cup draw in the seaside resort of Costa do Sauipe. Joachim Löw's men could potentially face arch rivals the Netherlands, four-time world champions Italy, France or England in the opening phase of the competition. This was made clear by how FIFA divided the four pots for the draw.

The eight seeded teams in Pot 1 are hosts Brazil and the seven top teams in FIFA's October world rankings – Spain, Germany, Argentina, Colombia, Belgium, Switzerland and Uruguay. The three remaining pots were decided through regional and sporting factors. But there's one more peculiarity: Pot 4 includes nine European teams. Before the actual draw, one European team will be placed in Pot 2 so that all pots include eight sides.

Joachim Löw at a press conference

Löw: "Great excitement for Brazil"

Die Mannschaft could end up in a group with Italy, the Ivory Coast and the United States, who are led by former Germany coach Jürgen Klinsmann. A relatively easier opening round against Bosnia and Herzegovina, Algeria and Honduras is also possible.

"We'll take it as it comes. We don't have any desired opponents. Whenever Germany goes into a tournament, you want to have the maximum amount of success," said Löw.

Pot 2 includes Chile, Ecuador, Algeria, the Ivory Coast, Ghana, Cameroon and Nigeria.

In Pot 3 are Australia, Iran, Japan, South Korea, Costa Rica, Honduras, Mexico and the United States.

Finally, the Netherlands, Italy, England, Portugal, Greece, Bosnia and Herzegovina, Croatia, Russia and France make up Pot 4.

Renewed protests announced

World Cup organizers are hoping to heighten the excitement surrounding the June-July tournament with the draw. At the same time, the competition's opponents have again announced protests. As happened during the Confederations Cup, opposition to social grievances, corruption and economic abuse is manifesting itself in the streets. The draw and the tournament are a platform for demonstrators to highlight the problems in Brazilian society.

But protests are not the only difficulty for World Cup organizers at the moment. June is fast approaching and the stadiums in Sao Paulo, Natal, Porto Alegre and Cuiaba are still not finished. The stadiums in Manaus and Curitiba, meanwhile, must be completed in a technically stripped-down form in order to meet the deadline.