Spain and Italy, the previous World Cup winners before Germany, were drawn together while the Netherlands and France, two other European powerhouses, were also placed in the same group.
The United States will face Trinidad and Tobago in Group C, while Patrick Kluivert’s maiden qualification draw with Curacao could see them take on Honduras and Mexico if they get past El Salvador.
“We say yes to Russia, we are providing our support” and that the Russian people “can be proud” of Putin.
This was the only aspect of the draw which concerned teams in Asia, where qualifying is already underway.
Oliver Bierhoff, the Germany assistant coach, said he was pleased his country had avoided Italy and France.
A global audience of approximately 94.8 million tuned in as the spectacular show, hosted by Dmitry Shepelev and supermodel Natalia Vodianova, blended football with some of the best in Russian music and culture.
The first two rounds for the African stage of qualifying were also drawn with the 20 victors from round two progressing to a final group stage where the five group winners will qualify for the World Cup.
Within a week Blatter had stunningly announced he would leave the office he has held since 1998 after a new election to replace him.
Blatter said Monday his replacement would be chosen at a special election on February 26.
Along with the bribery scandal being conducted by the US, in May Swiss prosecuting authorities launched a criminal inquiry into money laundering concerning the 2018 and 2022 bidding processes. He denies all wrongdoing.
Blatter gave the same message at the draw ceremony, insisting to the 2,000 guests that Federation Internationale de Football Association will “always stand behind Russia”.
They did manage to infamously reach the Euro 2012 final, but were trounced by Spain in arguably one of the most one-sided contests in recent memory.
Cristiano Ronaldo’s Portugal shouldn’t be too concerned about Group B, which also features Switzerland, Hungary, the Faeroe Islands, Latvia, and Andorra.
Uruguay have finished fifth in the last four South American World Cup qualifying competitions and taken part in an intercontinental playoff each time.
By contrast Wales have only attended a World Cup finals once in their history, in 1958, while Scotland’s last appearance came in 1998, Northern Ireland’s in 1982 and the Republic of Ireland in 2002.