The Constantine (Konstantinovsky) Palace is reflected onto an installation promoting the 2018 FIFA World Cup in St. Petersburg on July 24, 2015. AFP PHOTO / KIRILL KUDRYAVTSEV
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SAINT PETERSBURG: A total of 141 countries spanning five continents will learn their fate for the World Cup 2018 qualifiers on Saturday as the tournament is officially launSAINT PETERSBURG: A total of 141 countries spanning five continents will learn their fate for the World Cup 2018 qualifiers on Saturday as the tournament is officially launched with the preliminary draw in Saint Petersburg.A total of six draws will take place, five for each of FIFA's six confederations barring Asia where qualifying has already began, and an extra draw to see which continents will face each other for two of the last spots available in the two inter-confederation playoffs.The nine winners of the European groups will progress along with the winners of four playoff matches between the eight best second-placed sides.Four South American sides will qualify directly after a marathon 18-match round robin between all 10 competing nations with the fifth-placed side guaranteed an inter-confederation playoff.The other three teams for the inter-confederation playoffs will come from the fourth-placed side from CONCACAF, the best side from Oceania and the fifth-best side from Asia.FIFA secretary general Jerome Valcke has described Russia's preparations on the ground for the tournament as a "high speed train".
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