Drawing Croatia a few days too late
So, the draw has been made for the various qualifying groups for the 2010 World Cup to be played in South Africa. Obviously, my first thought is England and who they will face. The predictable focus is on the fact that they will have to play Croatia again having so recently been humbled by them in the European Championship qualifying group. Slaven Bilic makes all the right noises about how he respects England but I should think he is really rubbing his hands with glee about facing the Three Lions again. He knows he can beat them now and there will be no fear. Hopefully he will be managing West Ham or another Premier League team by the time the games come around anyway. Honestly, it looks a group that England should have no fear of but it is a long old slog qualifying in Europe and trips to Belarus, Ukraine and Kazakhstan on top of the visit to Zagreb will not be easy. We might beat Andorra though.
On the US side, frankly the way qualifying works is a little complex to say the least. If anybody cares to decipher it, here is the link to the FIFA site. I am sure they will qualify, however, unlike England.
Couple of other mentions which could affect the Rapids. Senegal, who will hopefully have Mr. Coundoul as their first choice keeper, are drawn against Gambia, Algeria and Liberia. Nigeria, the birthplace of defender Ugo Ihemelu, will be up against Sierra Leone, Equatorial Guinea and, somewhat bizarrely, hosts South Africa who are ensured qualification no matter how they fare in the qualifiers. Apparently, the African qualifying groups will also be used as qualifiers for the 2010 Africa Cup of Nations.
Hero of the Week:
Funnily enough, none of the England team but this guy Tony Henry who played a very important role in the game celebrations. Singing the Croatian national anthem, he managed to make a little slip of the tongue which meant that instead of signing about how lovely the mountains are, he opted instead for suggesting a certain part of his anatomy was rather mountainous. Apparently, the Croatian players immediately relaxed and subsequently humbled England. He is also being adopted in Croatia as a national hero for his contribution to the team's victory, similar to the England midfield really. More details below.