The first event of the FIFA World Cup starts with a kind of lottery but instead of selecting classified numbers, in this contest a country is selected; most had been made in January of the tournament year until 1982 and since the 1986 World Cup it is held in early December of the year before the start of the tournament.


The first version of the draw had been made in a football association's office, a few days before the 1930 World Cup; it was also repeated in 1934. Five of these have been held in hotel ballrooms; the 1950 draw was conducted in the office of a government agency. The 1958 draw was the first to be held in a television studio. The 1986 draw was notable as it was held less than two months after an earthquake struck the host nation's capital. A party was held a few hours before the 1998 draw which was the first to be performed in a stadium that hosted the tournament. The first draw that involved celebrity guests such as musical artists was held for the first time in 1990, a practice maintained until now.[1]

Previous draws

FIFA World Cup City Location Date
Uruguay Uruguay 1930 Montevideo Uruguayan Football Association 10 July 1930*
Italy Italy 1934 Rome Ambasciatori Palace Hotel 1 May 1934
French Third Republic France 1938 Paris Salon d'Horloge 5 March 1938
Second Brazilian Republic Brazil 1950 Río de Janeiro Ministry of Foreign Affairs 22 May 1950
Switzerland Switzerland 1954 Zurich Saint Gotthard Hotel 30 November 1953
Sweden Sweden 1958 Stockholm Cirkus Television Studios* 8 February 1958
Chile Chile 1962 Santiago de Chile Carrera Hotel 18 January 1962
England England 1966 London Royal Garden Hotel 6 January 1966
Mexico Mexico 1970 Mexico City Maria Isabel Sheraton Hotel 10 January 1970
West Germany West Germany 1974 Frankfurt Radio für Hessen Salon 5 January 1974
Argentina Argentina 1978 Buenos Aires The General San Martín Cultural Centre 14 January 1978
Spain Spain 1982 Madrid Madrid Congress Palace 16 January 1982
Mexico Mexico 1986 Mexico City Televisa San Ángel 15 December 1985*
Italy Italy 1990 Rome Palazzo dello Sport 9 December 1989
United States United States 1994 Las Vegas* Las Vegas Convention Center 19 December 1993
France France 1998 Marseille Stade Vélodrome* 4 December 1997
South Korea Japan South Korea/Japan 2002 Busan BEXCO 1 December 2001
Germany Germany 2006 Leipzig Leipzig Trade Fair 9 December 2005
South Africa South Africa 2010 Cape Town CTICC 4 December 2009
Brazil Brazil 2014 Salvador Costa do Sauípe Resort 6 December 2013
Russia Russia 2018 Moscow State Kremlin Palace 1 December 2017
  • 1930. First draw done 2 days before the World Cup start.
  • 1934. First draw done in a hotel.
  • 1954. First draw done at the end of the year and from the 1986 FIFA World Cup to today.
  • 1958. First draw done in a television studio.
  • 1986. Made draw 81 days after earthquake in Mexico City.
  • 1994. Draw made in a city that did not host World Cup.
  • 1998. Before the draw, a friendly match was played between the European team against Rest of the World, and the first draw done in a stadium host of the World Cup.
  • 2014. Draw made near the beach and an excursion complex.

Draw criticism

The current format of the draw has been criticized for lacking balance, fairness and equal distribution of quality. A study in the Journal of Quantitative Analysis in Sports suggested that while the current model does ensure Randomness, Tractability, and Geographic separation, it "fails to satisfy the principle of balance".[2] Under the studies proposed draw model, over 40,000 simulations of the 2014 draw the model exhibited a much more balanced group and much less variation in the strength of the groups when compared to the current system utilized by FIFA.

See also


  1. ^ "History of the World Cup final draw" (PDF). fifa.com. n.d. 
  2. ^ "Rethinking the FIFA World Cup™ final draw". Journal of Quantitative Analysis in Sports. 2015.