France's dramatic play-off triumph, and the failures of Sweden, Romania and Iceland, means England face the possibility of being placed in a World Cup 'group of death' with Brazil or Argentina, France or African champions Nigeria and one of the sides in the Concacaf/Asia pot, which includes Mexico and the USA.
Alternatively they could play Switzerland, Iran and Algeria.
Fifa are yet to confirm the process at the draw, which will be made in Salvador on December 6, but based on precedent there will be one pot of seeds consisting of hosts Brazil and the seven highest-seeded nations in October's Fifa rankings, and three pots based on geographical considerations.
However, assuming Jordan do not overturn Uruguay's 5-0 first-leg play-off lead in Montevideo on Wednesday, pot 1 will include four European and four South American teams. That will leave nine European nations. Eight will go into a pot, to be drawn one per group, the other will be placed separately and drawn into a group headed by a South American team (this is to avoid having three European teams in one group).
That team will probably be France as the lowest-ranked European qualifier (Sweden, Romania and Iceland are ranked below them, but lost). One pot will probably consist of the five African qualifiers and two remaining South American teams, none of whom will be drawn in the French group, the remaining pot will have the Asian and Concacaf (Caribbean, north and central American) teams.
Fifa will not confirm the precise format of the draw until December 3.
The draw: Probable pots
Pot 1 (seeds)
Brazil, Spain, Germany, Argentina, Colombia, Belgium, *Uruguay, Switzerland,
Pot 2 (Concacaf, Asia)
Costa Rica, Honduras, Mexico, USA, Australia, Iran, Japan, South Korea.
Pot 3 (South America, Africa + lowest-ranked European team)
Chile, Ecuador, Algeria, Cameroon, Ghana, Ivory Coast, Nigeria, France (21)
Pot 4 (Europe)
Bosnia-Herzegovinia, England, Italy, Russia, Netherlands, Portugal, Croatia, Greece.
* assuming Uruguay, 5-0 up on the first leg, win their play-off with Jordan