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FIFA procedure for World Cup draw benefits France
FIFA adopts procedure for World Cup draw that could benefit France
By GRAHAM DUNBAR
Associated Press
2013-12-04 03:01 AM

COSTA DO SAUIPE, Brazil (AP) -- FIFA gave France a possible reprieve when it adopted a new procedure for the World Cup draw, as the team now has better odds of avoiding Brazil and Argentina.

As the lowest-ranked of nine unseeded European qualifiers, France was expected to go in the Africa-dominated pot -- meaning it could not be placed in the same group as a top-seeded European team.

But instead of following its format from 2006, FIFA decided Tuesday that all nine European teams enter an open ballot to decide which can be drawn alongside the five African teams, plus Chile and Ecuador, in Pot 2.

France could yet face the top South Americans but now also has the chance of drawing seeded Switzerland or Belgium.

FIFA President Sepp Blatter says the decision followed talks with confederation presidents, including UEFA's French president Michel Platini.

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