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Danger for England with draw change

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04 Dec 2013 08:31:57

Danger for England with draw change

England boss Roy Hodgson will be hoping his team avoid the poisoned chalice of being chosen for the same pot as the South American and African teams for Friday's draw for the 2014 World Cup finals in Brazil.

FIFA has announced a change to its usual draw procedure which will see one of the nine unseeded European teams - including England - placed in Pot Two along with Algeria, Cameroon, Chile, Ivory Coast, Ecuador, Ghana and Nigeria.

If England were selected for that pot, it would mean Hodgson's men would be in the same group as a seeded South American side such as Brazil and Argentina, and would face another of the unseeded European sides, with Holland or Italy among the possibilities.

As expected, the eight seeded teams - hosts Brazil plus the top seven sides according to FIFA's October world rankings - will be kept apart for the group stage.

The draw will be organised so that there will be no more than two European teams in any group of four countries, and all the South American teams will be kept apart.

It means England will have to face one of the top seeds - hosts Brazil, Argentina, Colombia, Uruguay, Spain, Germany, Belgium and Switzerland - who are in Pot One.

Pot Three is made up of the teams from Asia and North and Central America - Costa Rica, Honduras, Iran, Japan, Korea Republic, Mexico and the United States - as well as Australia.

In Pot Four there are nine unseeded European teams: Bosnia-Herzegovina, Croatia, England, France, Greece, Italy, Netherlands, Portugal and Russia.

In order to make the number in each pot equal, at the start of the draw one of the nine European teams will be drawn into Pot Two, and will definitely face one of the seeded South American sides.

Meanwhile, FIFA president Sepp Blatter insisted he has the "utmost confidence" that Brazil's 12 stadiums will be ready in time - but at least two, Curitiba and Sao Paulo, will not be completed until February.

Blatter said at a news conference: "The problems we now face regarding the stadiums are so small we can close our eyes.

"But there is one sad fact and we deplore the loss of the two people who lost their lives last week and we are feeling sad with the families, but the stadium will be ready for the opening match (in Sao Paulo)."

FIFA also unveiled the official tournament ball, the Adidas Brazuca, named for a term referring to the Brazilian way of life.

It has been tested over two-and-a-half years by a selection of players including Lionel Messi, Iker Casillas and Dani Alves.

"My first impression of the Brazuca is of a ball that is fantastic, and we're going to have a lot of fun with it," said the Brazil defender.


PA

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