FIFA on Tuesday began the countdown to Friday's World Cup draw but football's world governing body kept everyone in suspense by saying it will only reveal the composition of the draw pots on the day itself.
The World Cup circus has descended on the northeastern resort of Costa do Sauipe, some 70 km north of the city of Salvador, one of the 12 venues for next year's finals.
Salvador was one of the host cities for last June's Confederations Cup, the World Cup dress rehearsal, and was one of several to see outbreaks of sometimes violent protest against government corruption but also the estimated $11bn bill of staging the event.
FIFA is keeping the exact draw mechanism under wraps for now but the 32 participating nations will be drawn in eight groups of four, each containing one seeded nation.
The seeds are hosts Brazil, defending champions Spain, Argentina, Colombia, Uruguay, Germany, Belgium and Switzerland.
Pot two has seven teams for the time being, including the five-strong African contingent, with pot three containing, among others, the United States, Australia and Japan.
Pot four consists of the nine non-seeded European teams, one of which will have to be assigned to pot two.
FIFA based its seeding according to its rankings as of last October 17, prior to the playoffs.
Pot 1 (seeds): Brazil, Argentina, Colombia, Uruguay, Spain, Germany, Belgium, Switzerland.
Pot 2: Chile, Ecuador, Ivory Coast, Ghana, Algeria, Nigeria, Cameroon.
Pot 3: USA, Mexico, Costa Rica, Honduras, Japan, Iran, South Korea, Australia.
Pot 4: Holland, Italy, England, Portugal, Greece, Bosnia, Croatia, Russia, France