Mexico gets to Group A for World Cup

Honduras and the winners of Curacao-Salvador and Canada-Belize will complete the group

English 25/07/2015 15:05 Reuters/DPA/AP / Saint Petersburg Actualizada 15:06

Mexico will integrate the Group A for the Concacaf playoffs for the World Cup in Russia, according to the draw held today in Saint Petersburg, looking for the 2018 tournament.

Mexico and Honduras will form the group along the winners of the games between Curaçao and Salvador, and Canada versus Belize, to be held in August and September.

The United States will open World Cup qualifying in November in a four-nation group that includes Trinidad and Tobago.

The other opponents in Group C will be either Guatemala or Antigua and Barbuda, and Aruba or St. Vincent and the Grenadine.

Costa Rica is in Group B with Panama, Jamaica or Nicaragua, and Haiti or Grenada.

The top two nations in each group advance to the six-team final round, known as the Hexagonal. The top three qualify, and the fourth meets an Asian opponent in a playoff for another berth.

Among the interesting pairings in Africa's second round were Angola vs. South Africa, the Chad-Sierra Leone winner vs. Egypt, the Comoros-Lesotho winner vs. Ghana, the Djibouti-Swaziland winner vs. Nigeria, the Liberia-Guinea-Bissau winner vs. Ivory Coast, the Somalia-Niger winner vs. Cameroon, and the Tanzania-Malawi winner vs. Algeria.

Russian President Vladimir Putin opened the World Cup qualifying draw with a 3 1/2 -minute speech and promised fans with tickets will be able to enter the nation for the 2018 tournament without visas.

Blatter told Putin "you make us happy and comfortable," drawing some applause, and called St. Petersburg the "Pearl of the Baltic."

Despite FIFA's scandals, Sepp Blatter says the organization remains committed to 2018 World Cup host nation Russia.

During a meeting Saturday with Russian President Vladimir Putin ahead of the qualifying draw, the FIFA president told Putin that "we say yes to Russia, we are providing our support" and that the Russian people "can be proud" of Putin.

Blatter added that "in the current geopolitical situation, we need not just to talk about our desire to make the world better, but we have to do something" to promote peace.

In brief comments, Putin welcomed Blatter, saying that Russia would "do everything that depends on us" to make players and fans feel at home in 2018.

Putin alluded to FIFA's controversy, which has seen top soccer officials indicted in the U.S. on corruption charges. Putin says "We see what's happening around soccer, but I know how you feel about it. We thank you for concentrating your time and attention on football above all despite this."