LIVE UPDATED GROUPS:
Group A: Brazil, Cameroon, Mexico, Croatia
Group B: Spain, Chile, Australia, Netherlands
Group C: Colombia, Ivory Coast, Japan, Greece
Group D: Uruguay, Italy, Costa Rica, England
Group E: Switzerland, Ecuador, Honduras, France
Group F: Argentina, Nigeria, Iran, Bosnia-Herzegovina
Group G: Germany, Ghana, United States, Portugal
Group H: Belgium, Algeria, Korea Republic, Russia
UPDATES AND ANALYSIS:
12:22 p.m. Stay tuned to http://prosoccertalk.nbcsports.com/ for a bevy of posts in the coming hours on what this all means, but suffice it to say that England and the United States both saw unfavorable draws. The winners and runners-up of the US group, Group G, will face Belgium, Algeria, Russia or Korea Republic in the knockout round on June 30 or July 1.
12:21 p.m. It is complete:
12:16 p.m. THE UNITED STATES 2014 WORLD CUP GROUP IS COMPLETE, as Cristiano Ronaldo and Portugal joins Germany and Ghana in what will certainly be described as a Group of Death. Russia joins Group H.
12:14 p.m. France with the break of the draw. After being relieved as the Pot 2 team, they get a winnable Group E. Bosnia-Herzegovina’s first World Cup date will be Argentina.
12:14 p.m. England joins a very difficult Group D and will open against mighty, hated Italy.
12:11 p.m. Croatia will face Brazil to kick-off the World Cup. Greece joins Group C, so we’ll avoid an UGGG acronym for Group G.
12:10 p.m. USA is headed to Group G, which is looking like the front runner for Group of Death. Korea Republic “bailed out” with Algeria and Belgium.
12:07 p.m. Japan is C4 and will open with Cote D’Ivoire, while Costa Rica gets a tough tough group with Uruguay and Italy. Two bad breaks for CONCACAF, which gets a break with Honduras joining Ecuador and Switzerland in E. Still no US, and the two remaining options are vastly different.
12:06 p.m. Money time for USMNT supporters, and Mexico is the first team chosen from Pot 3 and El Tri gets a possibility for Group of Death as A3. Australia gets a tough date with Spain and Chile as B4. Valcke drops a ball and quips that “it’s hard to be old.”
12:04 p.m. Nigeria joins Argentina in Group F as F4, Ghana continues Group G’s alliteration as G3, Algeria joins Group H as H2 in another enviable group for the US.
12:01 p.m. The rest of Pot 2 sees Chile named as B3, Cameroon to A4, Ecuador to E… now for a moment the United States is begging for Group E.
Noon: Double high Noon for Blatter. The team from Pot 4 to Pot 2 was… Italy, who now has a date with Uruguay as D4.
11:56 a.m. Spain is headed for B1, and the Pot 1 teams are coming out. Colombia to C1, Uruguay to D1. Switzerland to E1, Argentina to F1 (a team from Group F has never won World Cup. Gasp!), Germany gets an alliterative group and Belgium heads to Group H.
11:55 a.m. Moving from Pot 4 to Pot 2 is… a mystery ball. Of course, they couldn’t open and close a ball so we’re left in suspense as to which European nation entered a new world of trouble.
11:54 a.m. The script would like us to believe Lima is baffled by these incredibly-challenging rules, but her hero Valcke is here to assure her she’s over-dramatizing things.
11:53 a.m. Fun with Twitter:
Everyone seems to be tipping Germany and Brazil to lift the trophy next summer. What about Spain? Italy? France? Argentina? Or even England?
— NBC Sports Soccer (@NBCSportsSoccer) December 6, 2013
11:50 a.m. Special guest “drawers” Sir Geoff Hurst, Fabio Cannavaro, Lothar Matthaus, Zinedine Zidane, Cafu, Mario Kempes, Fernando Hierro and Alcides Ghiggia take the stage.
11:47 a.m. FIFA secretary general Jerome Valcke arrives on stage to join Lima in explaining the rules of the draw (which we’ve covered at-length in the links at the bottom of this page).
11:43 a.m. Enter Pele, who will likely not dance. He introduces a feature that makes at least one lowly American writer quite angry at his tourism budget.
11:42 a.m. The trophy!
— FIFA.com (@FIFAcom) December 6, 2013
11:40 a.m. And now, a scantily clad dance team gives us their take on the World Cup. Please, please, please deliver us. It’s already 10 minutes past the time we’ve long anticipated. So you think you can scorpion kick?
11:36 a.m. Brazilian women’s team superstar Marta hits the scene along with Bebeto and the World Cup’s mascot, Fuleco. Guess which one busted out a wild dance number?
11:28 a.m. Another musical number, and quite a show for those in attendance to be sure, but people are far more interested in what comes in moments: which European nation will make the move from Pot 4 to Pot 2, kicking off a chain reaction that will end with 4 teams in 8 groups and a long wait for June. Now a video showing each qualified team.
11:19 a.m. It’s a Disney-like ride through World Cup history, with old photographs and grainy highlights giving way to more familiar, modern highlights. Nice job, FIFA and/or Brazilian video types.
11:14 a.m. FIFA chief Sepp Blatter notes that it was “high Noon” for the World Cup to return to Brazil. This does not turn out to be a clever intro for Clint Eastwood’s arrival, unfortunately. He speaks of football connecting people and implores Brazilians to bring the world together.
11:00 a.m. The draw broadcast begins with a video tribute to Nelson Mandela and his history with the sport, including the moving moment when South Africa won the rights to host the 2010 World Cup, an honor for which the South African legend worked so hard.
11:03 a.m. Rodrigo Hilbert and his wife, Brazilian model Fernanda Lima, are the hosts for the event, and it’s fair to guess that those who haven’t heard of the latter are now quite impressed. The show now turns to a musical number featuring samba singer Alcione and rapper Emicada.
10:49 a.m. The day has arrived! The fate of the world’s best soccer nations will be decided by tiny pieces of paper inside of little soccer balls, and the path to the 2014 World Cup will be unveiled, beginning at 11:30am ET. Keep refreshing here for news, commentary, updated groups and reaction from around the world.
For your background info, PST has had plenty to say over the past few weeks. Read up: