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2010 World Cup qualifying draw



The 2010 World Cup will be held in South Africa
England have been drawn against their Euro 2008 nemeses Croatia for the 2010 World Cup South Africa qualifiers.

It gives England a chance to avenge last week's defeat by Croatia which eliminated them from next summer's Euro 2008 finals in Austria and Switzerland.

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

Scotland have been paired in a group with Holland, Wales will face Russia and Germany, while Northern Ireland face Czech Republic and Poland.

Republic of Ireland were drawn in Group Eight along with world champions Italy and Bulgaria.

France, runners-up from the 2006 finals, have been placed in a group with Romania and Serbia.

606: DEBATE

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

England's failure to gain the point they needed in their final Euro 2008 qualifier against Croatia at Wembley cost Steve McClaren his job as manager.

It was almost inevitable that Sunday's World Cup draw would throw the two nations together again, giving McClaren's successor an immediate opportunity for revenge.

However, England also face tough matches against Ukraine and Belarus - and there were gasps in the audience at Durban's International Convention Centre as the group was completed.

Scotland were placed in the smallest of the nine European groups, and will face Norway, FYR Macedonia and Iceland as well as Holland.

Durban put on a glitzy show for the World Cup 2010 draw
Durban put on a glitzy show for the World Cup 2010 draw

Alex McLeish's side agonisingly missed out on qualifying for the Euro 2008 finals after losing to Italy in their final match.

Scotland's last appearance at a major summer tournament came at the 1998 World Cup in France.

Meanwhile, Wales face a difficult group, up against Germany and Russia - the other side who qualified for Euro 2008 ahead of England - as well as Finland, Azerbaijan and Liechtenstein.

The Welsh are familiar with Finland, having faced them in Euro 2004 qualifying.

Northern Ireland, who also narrowly missed out on qualification for the Euro 2008 finals last week, face Slovakia, Slovenia and San Marino as well as Czech republic and Poland.

Republic of Ireland, who are managerless like England, must negotiate a path in a group containing defending champions Italy and Cyprus - to whom they suffered an humiliating 5-2 defeat during their unsuccessful qualifying campaign for Euro 2008.

Political and ideological rivals North and South Korea were drawn together in the Asian section.

South Korea are top seeds in Group 3 which also includes Jordan and Turkmenistan.

Two teams from each group go into the final Asian qualifying stage.

Australia, playing in the Asian section for the first time since switching from Oceania meet China, Iraq and Qatar in group one.

Thirty-one nations will join hosts South Africa in the 2010 finals.

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