All eyes on South Africa

Several West Ham United players will be paying close attention when the FIFA World Cup draw is held in South Africa on Friday night.

The news that England are one of eight seeds will have delighted Robert Green, Matthew Upson and Carlton Cole. Fabio Capello's men cannot play against Spain or Brazil in the group stage.

A total of 32 nations are taking part and will be drawn into eight groups of four during the Cape Town proceedings. The top two from each group at the finals will progress to the knockout stage. England could get the unseeded Portugal or France, however, depending on the draw.

The eight seeds will all be in pot one, with the remaining three pots drawn on regional boundaries. Pot two will have particular interest to Hammers fans with Jonathan Spector's United States and Guille Franco's Mexico involved. Pot three has the African and South American contingent while Pot four features Valon Behrami's Switzerland. Franco and Behrami appeared at the 2006 finals.

FIFA said: "Hosts South Africa will be automatically positioned as A1, the other seeded teams will be drawn into the other groups B-H but will always be in position '1' of their group. Groups will be drawn from A to H and the positions in the group will be drawn for pots two to four.

"Geographical criteria will also be respected, meaning that no two teams from the same confederation will be drawn in the same group (except European teams, where a maximum of two will be in a group).

"For example, South Africa cannot play the African teams from pot three and Argentina and Brazil cannot be drawn against the three remaining South American teams."

The 2010 FIFA World Cup will be staged between 11 June and 11 July.

Pot 1 (seeds): South Africa, Brazil, Spain, Netherlands, Italy, Germany, Argentina, England
Pot 2 (Asia, Oceania and North/Central America): Japan, South Korea, North Korea, Australia, New Zealand, United States, Mexico, Honduras
Pot 3 (Africa and South America): Ivory Coast, Ghana, Cameroon, Nigeria, Algeria, Paraguay, Chile, Uruguay
Pot 4 (Europe): France, Portugal, Slovenia, Switzerland, Greece, Serbia, Denmark, Slovakia