The nation waits

by Michael Somerville

Friday, December 4th, 2009

For all of England’s confidence, bravado and gusto in the qualifiers for the World Cup 2010, this evening promises to be a very tense time for English football.

Although England have been seeded with the “elite” teams of the world, today’s drawing for the group stages for the World Cup still represents a nervous crossroads scenario for England players and their fans who have done so well to get this far.

Possibilities that could be realised would be being drawn with USA/Mexico, Ivory Coast, and France / Portugal. The England national team surely cannot afford to be knocked out at the group stages and would be too damaging for the FA still repaying debts on Wembley Stadium. The eventual winners will stand to receive a record £18 million if they bring the Jules Rimet trophy home, up 61 percent on the 2006 World Cup in Germany.

Manager Fabio Capello described the Ivory Coast as “a very strong team” and believes that an African team “will get to the last four.” Capello also cited South Africa as ‘really dangerous.” It’s fair to say that their passionate fans’ vuvulela horns will annoy TV watchers and energise the home crowd in equal measure.

Potential opponents such as Karem Benzema, Christiano Ronaldo and of course the deadly Didier Drogba- who has been in lethal form this season, could severely hurt England’s chance of making it to the knockout round if the Three Lions are pitted up against their arch rivals in Portugal or France, who have claimed scalps against England in the last five years.

However, the doom and gloom scenario is not always the best way to see the draws, and England could find themselves in a group containing New Zealand, Algeria and Slovakia- a real god-send if it transpired!

If the excruciating method of taking the names out of the hat becomes too much, there’s always welcome eye candy in Charlize Theron, who has agreed to guest present the event in her native South Africa.

To be the best, you’ve got to beat the best… but for all that is good and true, please not Portugal or France!

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