First of all, apologies – some peculiar technical glitches with my internet connectionÂ (who knew that ‘the internets’ could get blown around by high winds) and my laptop (which desperately needs a new fan), it’s not been possible to post anything for a week or so. Everything seems to be working at the moment, so here’s a new post.
A quick summary of yesterdayâ€™s FIFA emergency general meeting: there will no changes in the amount of match officials and Thierry Henry will be â€˜investigatedâ€™.
That’s it. I hope lunch was a good one.
More importantly, the seeding system for tomorrow’s draw were announced andÂ are as follows:
Pot One:Â South Africa, Brazil, Spain, Italy, Germany, Argentina, England and the Netherlands
Pot Two: Ivory Coast, Ghana, Cameroon, Nigeria, Algeria, Paraguay, Chile and Uruguay
Pot Three: Japan, South Korea, North Korea, Australia, New Zealand, USA, Mexico and Honduras.
Pot Four:Â France, Portugal, Slovenia, Switzerland, Greece, Serbia, Denmark and Slovakia.
According to the latest FIFA rankings, five of the teams in Pot 4, half of the teams in Pot 2 and two of the teams in Pot 3 are in the top 20. Despite qualifying via the playoffs, France and Portugal are currently ranked higher than we are (whichÂ may see one ofÂ themÂ drawn in South Africaâ€™s group)
Another thing worth rememberingÂ is that as the South American qualifiers have already played each other during their continental qualifying competition, it is highly unlikely that theyâ€™ll be drawn against each other. Iâ€™d also be surprised if South Africa are drawn against another African nation.
There’s been a lot of speculation in today’s press regarding possible opponents for EnglandÂ but I’m not going to waste time on that; here’s a list ofÂ qualifying nationsÂ we’ve never played: Algeria, Ghana, Honduras, North Korea, the Ivory CoastÂ and Serbia. I really hope we avoid the last two in the group stages – both of them are potential quarter finalists. Another fact to amaze your friends: we have not played a competitive game against Chile since the notorious 1950 World Cup campaign when we lost to the USA.
All being well we’ll be covering the draw live via theÂ 11lionslive tab above. The draw will be covered on BBC2 starting at 5:15pm GMT and – apparently for the first time – live on ESPN atÂ 12.oopm EST.
So in less than 24 hours we’ll know our opponents and millions of stickers, wall charts and previews will be keeping printing presses busy across the world…hooray!