5 Things to know about the World Cup draw schedule
Three matches in tropical beach resort cities. Staying in the
cooler south with minimal travel between matches. Flying around the
vast country with a trip deep into the Amazon in the middle.
The World Cup draw is Friday, setting the match schedule for the
32 teams. Some slots are clearly more desirable than others.
Here are some of the ups and downs for the teams, many having
already chosen their training camps regardless of where the draw
As if facing Brazil in the tournament’s opening match in Sao
Paulo is not tough enough, that country will then face one of the
most grueling travel schedules. Next up is an afternoon match in
Manaus, almost 2,400 miles from Sao Paulo. The third fixture is a
further 2,800 miles east in the coastal city of Recife.
This fate awaits whichever of Brazil’s three group rivals is
drawn into position A2 in the schedule. And if that same team
finishes runner-up to Brazil, its second-round match will be a 1
p.m. start in the steamy heat of Fortaleza.
EAST COAST DRAG
Even seeded teams can get a difficult shake in this
often-criticized World Cup schedule, which takes in the maximum 12
host cities allowed with long travel times across the vast
The seed drawn into Group D will ping up and down the country
from Fortaleza to Sao Paulo, more than 1,800 miles down the east
coast, then almost the same distance back up to Natal for a closing
match in the 1 p.m. heat.
For a European seed such as Belgium or Switzerland, this slot
shapes up as one worth avoiding.
HEAT IS ON
Staying in that group, the team allocated position D4 is the
only one of the 32 that will have back-to-back matches kicking off
at lunchtime in the tropics. Oh, and its first match is scheduled
in Manaus as the Saturday night late show that kicks off at 3 a.m.
Central European Time. That late slot was required because opening
day, June 12, has only the Brazil match instead of the two games
scheduled at the 2010 World Cup.
It’s not all steamy heat and long-haul travel, at least not for
the lucky seed in Group H. This is perhaps the best slot in the
Three matches in temperate southern cities – Belo Horizonte, Rio
de Janeiro and Sao Paulo – with trips of fewer 300 miles between
each. In fact, the whole six-match Group H schedule stays in the
south, with no matches in Manaus or the north-eastern beach
In addition, finishing runner-up in Group H will earn an
extended stay in the south, with a second-round match in Porto
The Group G seed will have perhaps the happiest fans. They get
to stay by the Atlantic Ocean for the whole group program with
games in Salvador, Fortaleza and Recife – a nice round trip around
the northeastern coast.
The flip side for the players is that the first and third games
start at 1 p.m.
Salvador also offers a warm welcome for this team in the second
round if it finishes runner-up in the group.