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World Cup berths unchanged for 2014

Zurich, Switzerland (Sports Network) - FIFA announced Thursday that berths for the 2014 World Cup in Brazil will remain the same as in 2010.

Under that format, Europe is guaranteed 13 spots, Africa five, South America - in addition to Brazil qualifying automatically as host - four, Asia four, and CONCACAF three to account for 30 of the 32 spots.

In addition, South America, Asia, CONCACAF and Oceania were also given a half- berth, meaning one country from each region qualifies for a two-legged playoff series for an opportunity to advance as one of the final two qualifiers.

The most notable change is the playoff series will be decided by an open draw, not the old format of prearranged pairings. That draw will be held in July.

The only difference from 2010 will be Africa has one less spot, as it lost the place given to South Africa as hosts. Brazil now claims the spot given to the host, meaning South America could have six teams - one more than 2010.

03/03 13:44:38 ET