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World Cup 2010 draw: Steve Bruce predicts England will face France in group stages
Published : 04 Dec 2009 11:41:24
The former Manchester United skipper, who is set to be an ITV pundit when the World Cup 2010 finals gets under way next summer, expects Thierry Henry's team to come face to face with England in the group stages. And he is hoping that England will avoid Didier Drogba's Ivory Coast and Michael Essien's Ghana when the draw is made in Cape Town this evening. Related ArticlesWorld Cup 2010 draw: liveEngland fans advised to plan well ahead for World Cup 2010Frank Lampard fears 'group of death'Baddiel and Skinner's World Cup fixtureFabio Capello prepares for his toughest testBeckham grieves for grandfatherBruce said: "We have to have France haven't we? They have to be in our group. I will be glued to the television like everyone else. I hope we can get a good draw. There could be an easy group. Let's hope we get a bit of luck. "It unquestionable that it helps England that we are seeded. But obviously the French and the Portuguese aren't. The French will definitely be in our group. I have a feeling on that. "And then you want to avoid one of the big African nations because the African nations in Africa will be a handful too. I am talking about Ghana and Ivory Coast. There are some good teams there as well. It will be interesting." Speaking ahead of Sunderland's visit to Fulham this Sunday, Bruce told reporters at his club's Cleadon training ground, that his Ghanaian international defender John Mensah would miss the visit to Craven Cottage due to a calf injury sustained in training. Bruce said the injury was a "big concern" as he set about inspiring his team to buck up their ideas when they are on opposition territory. "If we are going to take the club forward that away form has to pick up," Bruce said. "It would take us and if we could pick that up then our season really would be rocking and rolling. That is the disappointing thing so far. That we have done very well in a lot of games and then throw in a performance like we have at Wigan and Birmingham and that sets us back a bit. "If we'd taken eight points with another win and draw that would have taken us into fifth or sixth which would have been far healthier going into Christmas. But that is why the Premier League is so demanding. If you're not 100 per cent at it you get beat not matter where you go. "If somebody had said you are going into September sitting eighth on 20 points I would have taken that. The sad thing is that all the good work against the top teams should be a bonus on top of your bread and butter. "We have let ourselves down against the teams we are competing against this is the vital part of the season with six games in a month. We are in good shape and hope we can get the injured ones back, particularly Kenwyne and Lee Cattermole is not far off. We are convinced Kenwyne will be available but we will have to wait and see. "December is a defining month for a lot of clubs and if you can put a little run together and come out it unscathed that stands you in good stead for the rest of the season." Bruce will be pitting his wits against Fulham counterpart Roy Hodgson whose efforts at Fulham have seen him emerge as the favourite to coach an England side at the 2012 Olympics and the Geordie is an admirer. "I have the hugest respect for Roy Hodgson," Bruce added. "If you look at their home record under Roy it has been exceptional. The job Roy has done in keeping them in the division after they looked dead and buried. "They have kicked on and given themselves the chance of getting to the last 32 of the Europa League which is a huge achievement for a club like Fulham. It just shows what you can achieve. If Fulham can do it then why can't Sunderland. "In management you have to do it in a short period of time or you know what happens. Gone are the days when you get years to build a football club. You get weeks or months. "Roy is very well organised. You know how his team is going to play. They are rigid in their 4-4-2 formation and are we'll drilled and well coached. They are handful and they all know their jibs and their system. "We have to be better than what we were at Wigan. It won't be easy because their home record is fantastic. We will have to be at our best. "If you look at the Premier League from us downwards everyone struggles away from home. We have to arrest this away form. Last year it was the home form and we have done something about that. Obviously we need a few results away from home to get this monkey off our back.