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SPORTS UPDATE

FIFA W/Cup draw: USA to face England, Spain meet Germany

The United States face England and Spain will take on Germany in the group stage of this year’s World Cup finals after the first half of the draw was complete.

Hosts Qatar will meet the Netherlands in Group A while holders France take on Denmark.

The football world gathered in the Qatari capital on Friday as the draw ceremony for the World Cup finals got under way with music and dance.

Qatar’s Emir Sheikh Tamim bin Hamad al-Thaniwelcomed the guests who included national team coaches, World Cup-winning players and football officials all waiting to discover the group stage match-ups during a ceremony presented by British actor Idris Elba and broadcaster Reshmin Chowdhury.

The tournament will run from November 21 to December 18 — the first time football’s top prize has been competed for in the Middle East and there was a distinct Arabian feeling to the show.

Egyptian actress Sherihan provided a recital against a backdrop of Middle Eastern inspired graphics.

Fans gathered outside the Doha Exhibition and Conference Centre hoping to catch a glimpse of some of the big names in attendance, which included former champions such as Germany’s Lothar Matthaus, Italian Alessandro Del Piero and Brazil’s Cafu.

Hundreds of reporters and broadcast crews from all over the world set up camp inside and around the venue as dusk approached and the searing daytime temperatures eased.

The 29 countries who have secured their place in the finals will be drawn into eight groups of four teams with three ‘place holders’ for the spots yet to be determined via qualifying games.

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