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Last Updated: Monday, 26 November 2007, 11:02 GMT
England's World Cup task
By Mandeep Sanghera

England's trip away during qualifying in Group Six for the 2010 World Cup in South Africa
The trips England face in qualifying for the 2010 World Cup

The next England manager will be able to clock up the air miles after the World Cup draw for South Africa 2010 provided several lengthy treks abroad.

Croatia and Andorra are mere short hops compared to trips to fellow Group Six rivals Belarus, Ukraine and Kazakhstan.

The winners of each of the nine European groups will qualify for the finals automatically and the best eight runners-up play off for four more qualifying berths.

But, apart from the logistical difficulties, what problems will the countries pose?


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Oh no, not again. The biggest gasps at the draw went out when this rematch was drawn.

Croatia beat England twice in the recent Euro 2008 qualifying group to help end their hopes of reaching next summer's finals and they have plenty of dangermen.

The England players, fans and media will be able to tell the new manager plenty about the likes of Luka Modric, Niko Kranjcar and Eduardo Silva.

An up-and-coming team, Croatia are expected to be England's main rivals to qualify from the group.


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Striker Andriy Shevchenko is their main threat but, judging by his form at Chelsea, he looks like a player on the wane.

But his reputation earns him the right to be seen as a threat, while fellow forward Andriy Voronin is showing the potential to be a thorn in England's side as he tries to make his mark at Liverpool.


Holding midfielder Anatoliy Tymoschuk starts Ukraine's attacks and has reportedly been eyed by both Arsenal and Manchester United.

Ukraine will host Euro 2012 and will be making attempts to improve and bring on their national side so England will have to be wary.

They finished fourth behind Italy, France and Scotland as they failed to qualify for Euro 2008 but lost only one game at their Kiev home - to Italy - in the process.


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They ended their failed Euro 2008 qualifying campaign with a home win over a Holland side that had already secured their slot in Austria and Switzerland for the finals.

Arsenal playmaker Alexander Hleb poses their biggest threat and Belarus have the potential to be troublesome if England take them too lightly.

They finished fourth in their Euro 2008 qualifying group and German Bernd Stange is at the helm and in charge of making them into a force.

He will be hoping they can match some of their promising play with more bite.

Maksim Romaschenko is an experienced and key player and another man of whom England will have to be careful.

"There are more military in the stands when you play in Belarus," said Dutch journalist Rob Fleur.

"A lot of players don't want to go there because it is always cold and the pitch is frozen. They play with two strikers and the rest defending."


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The Borat jokes are already doing the rounds but Serbia were not laughing after their defeat in Kazakhstan during their Euro 2008 campaign.

Serbia went on to miss out on qualification and Kazakhstan also held Belgium at home and narrowly lost to Portugal.

Those results showed Kazakhstan could be difficult opponents who are improving and can raise themselves for high-profile opposition.

But despite the length of the trip and potentially tough nature of the conditions, England will be castigated if they do not beat Kazakhstan.


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Andorra should present absolutely no problems.

England made hard work of beating them 3-0 in the away leg in Spain but, while they are a tough team to break down, they are an exception to the phrase 'there are no easy games in international football'.

England to face Croatia rematch
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England 2-3 Croatia
21 Nov 07 |  Internationals
Croatia 2-0 England
11 Oct 06 |  Internationals
Andorra 0-3 England
28 Mar 07 |  Internationals
England 5-0 Andorra
02 Sep 06 |  Internationals
World Cup qualifying draw as it happened
25 Nov 07 |  Internationals
The road to Euro 2008
23 Nov 07 |  Football


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