Pirès and Ballack to Make Star Sixes Draw Live on Sky Sports on Friday

The stars will align on Friday lunchtime when Robert Pirès and Michael Ballack perform the eagerly-awaited draw for the first-ever Star Sixes tournament live on Sky Sports.

France and Arsenal legend Pirès and Germany and Chelsea hero Ballack, who will captain their countries at this summer’s competition at The O2, will be live in the Sky Sports News HQ studio from 11.30am, with the draw taking place at 12.45pm.

Top seeds England, captained by Steven Gerrard, Brazil, featuring Roberto Carlos, and Germany, also starring Jens Lehmann, will avoid each other in the initial group phase of the 12-team tournament.

But they face the prospect of mouth-watering clashes against the likes of France, Italy, Spain, Mexico, Nigeria, Portugal, China, Denmark and Scotland.

The top two countries in each of the three four-team groups, plus the two best third-placed teams, will progress to the quarter-finals.

Pirès said: “With so many great players involved, Star Sixes is going to be a truly world class tournament and I can’t wait to pull on the France shirt again and represent my country.

“I’m really excited to be playing at The O2, which will be perfect for Star Sixes, and it will be great to learn on Friday who we will be up against in the group stage.

“With the calibre of players involved, it’s going to be tough whoever we draw.”

Other star names on show will include England’s Michael Owen, Rio Ferdinand, Emile Heskey and David James, France’s Marcel Desailly, Éric Abidal, William Gallas, Ludovic Giuly, Olivier Dacourt and Sébastien Frey, and Spain’s Carles Puyol, Gaizka Mendieta and Míchel Salgado.

Ex-Chelsea and Barcelona defender Juliano Belletti will be on duty for Brazil, while former Premier League duo Deco and Jay-Jay Okocha will skipper Portugal and Nigeria respectively.

Confirmed Scotland players include Dominic Matteo, Barry Ferguson, Don Hutchison, Paul Dickov, Christian Dailly, Simon Donnelly and Rab Douglas, while Martin Jørgensen and Stig Tøfting will line-up for Denmark.

Every Star Sixes player will be a fully-capped former international, and with each country selecting a ten-man squad, many, many more star names will be announced in the coming weeks.

Ballack said: “Germany have a good history at tournaments – let’s hope we prove it again!

“We will take our motivation from that and be prepared for Star Sixes.

“It will be great to conduct the draw with Robert and find out who we will be playing. It will be interesting if Germany are drawn in the same group as France!”

Group stage matches will be played during three ‘sessions’ on Thursday 13 July, Friday 14 July and Saturday 15 July (afternoon session). All 12 countries will play one 20-minute match in each of these sessions.

The evening session on 15 July will feature four quarter-finals – before Star Sixes reaches a pulsating conclusion the following day.

With the silverware at stake, the Sunday 16 July session will include two semi-finals, a third-place decider and the Star Sixes final.

From, and including, the quarter-finals, all knockout-stage matches will feature two 15-minute halves, with a short half-time break. Matches that finish all square in the knockout stages will be decided by a penalty shootout.

Star Sixes will adhere to 11-a-side football rules as closely as possible, and will include: no restrictions on player movement; no head-height rule; no perimeter wall/barriers; rolling substitutions; kick-ins will replace throw-ins.

As well as world-class football action, a spectacular show will be built around the matches making this an unmissable occasion for the whole family.

Tickets, which start at £30 Adults and £10 Juniors (Under-16s), are on sale now at Ticketmaster and AXS.