- Associated Press - Saturday, July 30, 2011

RIO DE JANEIRO (AP) - The 2014 World Cup has officially begun, with the United States being drawn with Jamaica in qualifying for the North, Central America and Caribbean region for the tournament in Brazil.

The other two teams in Group A will come from preliminary qualifying matches that include Haiti, Guatemala, the U.S. Virgin Islands and five other nations.

The African teams were divided in 10 groups for qualifying matches beginning in November. South Africa, last year’s World Cup host, was drawn in Group A along with Botswana. Ghana, the best African team last year, is in Group D with Zambia and Sudan.

The qualifying draw in Rio de Janeiro is the first major World Cup event in Brazil since the South American nation was awarded the competition in 2007.

THIS IS A BREAKING NEWS UPDATE. Check back soon for further information. AP’s earlier story is below.

RIO DE JANEIRO (AP) _ The road to the 2014 World Cup has begun with the United States placed in the same regional group as Jamaica.

The other two teams in the group from North and Central America and the Caribbean will come from preliminary qualifying games. Those games involve Haiti, Guatemala, the U.S. Virgin Islands and five other nations.

African and Asian nations also learned their opponents as they vie for berths in the soccer showcase in three years. Only host Brazil has an automatic spot in the 32-team tournament.

Saturday’s qualifying draw is the first major World Cup event in Brazil since 2007 when the country was awarded the competition for the first time in 64 years.