With just two days to go before the draw for next summer’s World Cup takes place in Brazil, it seems the nerves are starting to kick in for Roy Hodgson and England.
FIFA have made another of their last minute changes of heart which leaves the Three Lions and other European teams reaching for pencils and chewing their nails while trying to work out the best and worst case scenarios.
The governing body’s head honcho, Sepp Blatter has decided not to automatically place Europe’s lowest-ranked team, France into pot 2 along with the African and South American teams.
What this means is England, France, or one of the other seven European teams, who aren’t in pot 1 with the other elite teams, could be randomly placed in the second pot just before the draw kicks off.
Still with us?
Well, this could see an unlucky England being placed in the nightmare scenario of being grouped with hosts Brazil, the always strong U.S.A and Cristiano Ronaldo’s Portugal.
Alternatively, if they are ‘lucky’ enough to remain in pot 4, they could face the nightmare scenario of being grouped with Belgium’s ‘Golden Generation’, an Algeria side who held them to a draw at the last World Cup and any one of Mexico, South Korea (Team GB’S conquerors at the 2012 Olympics), or Australia, all of whom will no doubt fancy their chances if pitted against England.
Whatever happens, England always struggle in the group stages of World Cups. There are 31 other national teams who are going to the World Cup on merit. There are several others who will feel unfortunate not to be taking part.
Stick the pencil back behind the ear, Roy, and enjoy the ride.