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This was different from previous draws, when only pot 1 was based on FIFA rankings while the remaining pots were based on geographical considerations.

However, teams from the same confederation still were not drawn against each other for the group stage, except that two UEFA teams could be in each group.

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Bastian Dankert (Germany)Artur Soares Dias (Portugal)Paweł Gil (Poland)Massimiliano Irrati (Italy)Tiago Martins (Portugal)Danny Makkelie (Netherlands)Daniele Orsato (Italy)Paolo Valeri (Italy)Felix Zwayer (Germany) Shortly after the International Football Association Board's decision to incorporate video assistant referees (VARs) into the Laws of the Game, on 16 March 2018, the FIFA Council took the much-anticipated step of approving the use of VAR for the first time in a FIFA World Cup tournament.are very close to the Europe-Asia border, to reduce travel time for the teams in the huge country.The finals involved 32 teams, of which 31 came through qualifying competitions, while the host nation qualified automatically.Of the 32 teams, 20 had also appeared in the last tournament in 2014, while both Iceland and Panama made their first appearances at a FIFA World Cup.It is the first time three Nordic countries (Denmark, Iceland and Sweden) and four Arab nations (Egypt, Morocco, Saudi Arabia and Tunisia) have qualified for the World Cup.

Notable countries that failed to qualify include four-time champions Italy (for the first time since 1958), three-time runners-up and third placed in 2014 the Netherlands (for the first time since 2002), and four reigning continental champions: 2017 Africa Cup of Nations winners Cameroon, two-time Copa América champions and 2017 Confederations Cup runners-up Chile, 2016 OFC Nations Cup winners New Zealand, and 2017 CONCACAF Gold Cup champions United States (for the first time since 1986).along with his two assistant referees, compatriots Mohammed Al-Abakry and Abdulah Al-Shalwai.A new referee was not appointed, but two assistant referees, Hasan Al Mahri of the United Arab Emirates and Hiroshi Yamauchi of Japan, were added to the list.From the preliminary squad, the team had to name a final squad of 23 players (three of whom must be goalkeepers) by 4 June.Players in the final squad may be replaced for serious injury up to 24 hours prior to kickoff of the team's first match and such replacements do not need to have been named in the preliminary squad.For the draw, the teams were allocated to four pots based on the FIFA World Rankings of October 2017.