2014 World Cup: Spain Draw France
Spain have been drawn France in the group I for the 2014 Brazilian World Cup preliminaries as the world champions will have to fight for their top spot in the group which also includes Belarus.
The French Football Foederation boss Noel Le Graet declared that, given the fact that the French side have been drawn the best side in the world, Laurent Blanc’s side will also have to fight until the last moment at least for the second place in the group, if not for the first one which sends the winner through the World Cup group stage directly.
“It’s an extremely difficult group. We have time to progress but it’s absolutely essential to finish first. We will face Spain and be very competitive. We still have a year and a half to get ready,” added Graet. The group I also includes Belarus, Georgia and Finland, being the only group which includes five teams, instead of six.
The first group is led by Croatia who are the main favorites for the World Cup. The former third best team in the world will have to fight Serbia, who failed to impress at the last term’s South African tournament, Belgium, who are a main favorite for the second place at the Euro 2012, Scotland, Macedonia and Wales.
Scottland midfielder Charlie Adam declared that despite the tough group, the Scottish will have to believe in their own chances and try to do their best in the preliminaries. “Tough draw but [we] have a good chance. Nothing is impossible,” he said. Former World Cup finalists Holland have been drawn dangerous Turkey, Hungary, Romania, Estonia and Andorra in the group D. The Dutch will start as main favorites, but is already known their big rivalry against the Romanians whom they had met plenty of times before.
Germany, whose last World Cup performance includes a third place in South Africa, lead the group C which also includes Sweden, Republic of Ireland, who have plenty of chances for the Euro 2012 group stage, Austria, Faroe Islands and Kazakhstan. Former world champions Italy are in the same group with Denmark, Czech Republic, Bulgaria, Armenia and Malta, the group B being one of the toughest ones, if not the toughest.
Norway had a bit of luck as the Scandinavians will fight Slovenia, Switzerland, Albania, Cyprus and Iceland in the group E where the favorites do not seem to have any problems. England are to be tested in the preliminaries as Fabio Capello’s side have been drawn Montenegro, Ukraine, Poland, Moldova and San Marino in the group H. The English side failed to shine in South Africa where they were ousted by Germany early in the last 16 round.
Group F includes Portugal, Russia, Israel, Northern Ireland, Azerbaijan and Luxembourg, but Cristiano Ronaldo and Co. will have to fight for their first spot seriously. Finally, former European champions Greece will play Slovakia, Bosnia Herzegovina, Lithuania, Latvia and Lichtenstein in group G.
African zone draws:
Group A: South Africa, Botswana, Central African Republic, Somalia/Ethiopia
Group B: Tunisia, Cape Verde, Sierra Leone, Equatorial Guinea/Madagascar
Group C: Ivory Coast, Morocco, Gambia, Chad/Tanzania
Group D: Ghana, Zambia, Sudan, Lesotho/Burundi
Group E: Burkina Faso, Gabon, Niger, Sao Tome and Principe/Congo
Group F: Nigeria, Malawi, Seychelles/Kenya, Djibouti/Namibia
Group G: Egypt, Guinea, Zimbabwe, Comoros Islands/Mozambique
Group H: Algeria, Mali, Benin, Eritrea/Rwanda
Group I: Cameroon, Libya, Guinea Bissau/Togo
Swaziland/Democratic Republic of Congo
Group J: Senegal, Uganda, Angola, Mauritius/Liberia
Asian zone draws:
Group A: China, Jordan, Iraq, Singapore
Group B: South Korea, Kuwait, United Arab Emirates, Lebanon
Group C: Japan, Uzbekistan, Syria, North Korea
Group D: Australia, Saudi Arabia, Oman, Thailand
Group E: Iran, Qatar, Bahrain, Indonesia
Oceania zone draws:
Group A: Vanuatu, First round winners, New Caledonia, Tahiti
Group B: Fiji, New Zealand, Solomon Islands, Papua New Guinea
South American draws:
Group A: Argentina, Bolivia, Chile, Colombia, Ecuador, Paraguay, Peru, Uruguay, Venezuela. Host Brazil are directly qualified.
CONCACAF zone draws (round 2):
Group A: El Salvador, Suriname, Cayman Islands, Dominican Republic
Group B: Trinidad and Tobago, Guyana, Barbados, Bermuda
Group C: Panama, Dominica, Nicaragua, Bahamas
Group D: Canada, St Kitts and Nevis, Puerto Rico, St Lucia
Group E: Grenada, Guatemala, St Vincent and Grenadines, Belize
Group F: Haiti, Antigua, Curacao, US Virgin Islands
CONCACAF zone draws (round 3):
Group A: United States, Jamaica, Winner second round group E, Winner second round group F
Group B: Mexico, Costa Rica, Winner second round group A, Winner second round group B
Group C: Honduras, Cuba, Winner second round group D, Winner second round group C11