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2010 World Cup qualifying draw



FA chief executive Brian Barwick looked ahead to facing Croatia again after being drawn against them in qualifying for the 2010 World Cup in South Africa.

Croatia won at Wembley to effectively dump England out of Euro 2008 and cost former coach Steve McClaren his job.

Ukraine, Belarus, Kazakhstan and Andorra are the other Group Six teams.

"It's an opportunity at a competitive level to pit our wits against the team that did us twice in the Euro 2008 qualifiers," he told BBC 5 Live.

"It's an opportunity with a new coach to see if he can turn round our fortunes against a very good team."

Barwick is aware it is a testing group and warned against focusing on the group winners coming from England or Croatia.

606: DEBATE

"It would be very easy for everybody to concentrate the group on to two teams but we've got work to do elsewhere as well," he said.

Croatia coach Slaven Bilic insisted he was hoping to avoid England, despite his country's recent success against them.

"It's the hardest opponent we could face. I wanted to avoid them of course," Bilic told BBC 5 Live on drawing England again.

"We have a very difficult group as we got the top teams from the different pots in Ukraine and England."

"I respect England a lot and I really wanted to avoid them but we are not afraid."

Bilic may not be in charge of Croatia for their World Cup qualifying campaign as he said his main concentration at present was leading his team at Euro 2008.

"My contract runs out after Euro 2008 and you can't plan long term in this job," he added. "I am focused on my job and the European Championship."



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