Friday, December 4, 2009

I don't know why I thought it would be any different. Every four years I look forward to the World Cup draw and every four years I forget it's like watching paint dry and stretched out for much longer than it needs to be.

Today's draw in South Africa lacked any real drama, fireworks or razzamatazz. No real complaints from me re the latter, as you don't need that anyway. We just want to see the matchups as soon as possible.

As usual, I found myself drifting away and only really paying full attention when it came to finalising the final pot.

As for the actual details of the draw itself, well I'm sure the journalists will be pleased to have something they are already referring to as a "group of death" in Group G. It didn't take them long to christen it that after the draw was complete, but Brazil should be comfortable qualifiers and I would say any group with North Korea in it can't exactly be called a difficult group. Sure it will be an interesting battle between Portugal and the Ivory Coast for the second qualifying spot but that's the case in pretty much all of the groups - there's pretty much a standout favourite and two others battling for that second place.

In my opinion, the real group of death is Group D. I can really see Germany struggling to get out of that if Australia, Ghana and one of my tips as the dark horses, Ghana, all play to their strengths.

The rest of the groups hardly excite.

England look to have a piss easy group again, although their second round match up against the second place team from Group D could be an interesting one for them. I was really pleased when they got the USA, as that was what I felt to be the toughest for them from that pot. It could all have been so different for them if the Ivory Coast had been stuck in their Group C instead of going to Brazil's group, due to the bizarre geographical stipulations FIFA had imposed.

I was going to be cheering on Slovenia anyway due to AFTNs ties with them in the past. Moreso now!

The hosts have a chance to make it through, and keep local interest going, if they play like they did in the Confederation Cup in the summer, but South Africa v Mexico isn't the most glamourous tournament opener we've ever had.

With Scotland's lack of qualification becoming a regular occurance these days, we've become pretty used to picking other teams to cheer on.

We've always been taken with watching Cameroon and once again they'll be getting our support, along with the Aussies and Kiwis and Slovenia and yeah we'll say it, anyone that plays England.

The anticipation of the week's build up to the draw wasn't repaid with what was the result. I'm sure we can expect the odd shock, the odd defensive boring performance by the South Americans and eastern European qualifiers and the usual names to go into the last 16.

By the looks of what we have so far, that seems to be when next year's tournament will really kick off and start to generate some excitement. All the same, I still can't wait for it to start.

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