World Cup Draw Brings Relief for England and France v Spain


These may not be troubling times for followers of the English national team but they are concerned ones.

They were eliminated 4-1 in the last World Cup by a resurgent German side displaying a most astereotypical joie de vivre.

The manner of that elimination reinforced the fear that their players were overhyped plodders and that the strength of their domestic league was based mostly on the imports.

The malaise has hardly seen soothing reassurance in the side’s current Euro 201 qualifying campaign. Home draws to Montenegro and Switzerland have caused unease although qualification is probable due to an excellent away win in Switzerland.

However this week’s World Cup draw brought comforting news. Seeded in the first pot of seeds, things were never going to become too uncomfortable as they could not be joined by any other first seeds but the arrival of Montenegro, Ukraine, Poland, Moldova, and San Marino in Group H was far from unsettling in a football sense, although the traveling distances were larger than they could have been.

Ukraine and Poland are not involved in current Euro 2012 qualification as the host sides so there is no current track record of their form and Montenegro are in England’s group.

Scotland will play Wales in Group A but the idea that this is a renovation of a fierce rivalry pales into insignificance with a glance at the rest of the group, where half of the old Yugoslavia will join them.

Croatia, Serbia, and Macedonia will be there renewing one hopes purely football hostilities, along with the fast improving Belgium who were regarded as the toughest side from their pot of seeds.

Spain and France were drawn together in a five team group that also includes Belarus, Georgia and Finland. Only group winners are guaranteed a place at the tournament. Eight of the nine second place sides will enter a play-off round where the four winning nations will qualify.

There is yet another local derby in Group C. Germany drew neighbours and rivals Austria, along with  the Republic of Ireland, Sweden, Faroe Islands and Kazakhstan.

Far more scattered both geographically and culturally is Group G which includes Northern Ireland, Portugal, Russia, Israel, Azerbaijan and Luxembourg. The Ulstermen will probably win the air miles World Cup if nothing else.

Lithuania v Latvia in Group G and Romania v Hungary in Group D make up the other interesting local derbies to come out of the hat.


All UEFA Qualifying Groups



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