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Friday, 10 December, 1999, 20:02 GMT
Blow for England's Euro hopes

Keegan Kevin Keegan: Another blow ahead of a major draw


England have been handed the worst possible seeding for Sunday's Euro 2000 draw.

Their presence in the bottom section of the draw means that their first-round group cannot contain weaker teams such as Turkey, Denmark and Slovenia.

It is also sure to feature three teams with better qualifying records, while the chance of a second England versus Germany draw within a week is just one in three.


Seedings
Top seeds: Germany, Holland, Belgium and Spain
Second seeds: Romania, Norway, Czech Republic, Sweden
Third seeds: Italy, France, Portugal, Yugoslavia
Fourth seeds: England, Turkey, Denmark, Slovenia
The Euro 2000 tournament's organising committee considered three possible options, and decided on the worst of all for England.

The team were always going to have to face either the holders Germany, one of the co-hosts, or the highest-ranked team in Europe, Spain.

But Uefa's other options were for an open draw involving eight or 12 unseeded teams.

However the committee decided that this could create a repeat of Euro 96's "Group of Death" which saw Italy eliminated in the first round.

The teams which had to qualify through the play-offs, including England, suffer as a result.


Scots England's poor results include the 1-0 play-off defeat at Wembley
England beat Scotland on aggregate but lost at Wembley, just one of a number of setbacks in the last 18 months.

The only country England will definitely avoid are Sweden, since no team can face a side from the same qualifying group.

But that also rules out a group involving Germany and Turkey, meaning the chance of a second successive pairing of England and the European champions is just one in three.

The two countries were drawn together for the 2002 World Cup qualifying rounds earlier this week.

This Euro 2000 format actually uses the same system as the Tokyo draw, where Kevin Keegan's team were in the second-ranked group.

But, despite England's relatively high position in world body Fifa's monthly ratings, the high standard of the Euro 2000 qualifiers counts against them for the draw in Brussels.

The system still has to be officially ratified by the executive commitee of European governing body Uefa, but is expected to be rubber-stamped before Sunday.

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See also:
18 Nov 99 |  Battle of Britain
England book Euro 2000 place
03 Dec 99 |  Football
World Cup seedings blow for England
07 Dec 99 |  Football
Keegan: I'll know when to go
07 Dec 99 |  Football
World Cup qualifying draw
07 Dec 99 |  Football
England must face Germans
Links to other Football stories are at the foot of the page.