The list of confirmed qualifiers for next year is as follows:
Australia, Brazil, England, Ghana, Holland, Japan, North Korea, Paraguay, South Korea and Spain. Possibly the only surprise there is North Korea (making their second appearance in the finals) but all of these countries have qualified before. The play off situation is still wide open so we’ll take a look at that nearer the time; the other story that we’re monitoring is when (rather than if) Diego Maradona and Argentina part company. The last time Argentina failed to qualify was in 1970 but there’s a real chance they may be missing next year.
Back to the Premiership this weekend for all but one of the England squad: game of the day has to be Manchester United v Spurs (ESPN 5:15pm GMT) as it’s second v third and should feature a lot of England players. Arsenal v Manchester City should also be worth keeping an eye on.
Clive Tyledesley was on form on Wednesday, wasn’t he? Croatia are our ‘skeleton in blue’ (perhaps not any more), he mentioned France but obviously hadn’t been fed the information that notÂ only were they losing but their goalkeeper had been sent off, StevenÂ Gerrard is onlyÂ a inch and a half taller than Dario Srna and Croatia is an old countryÂ (it became a kingdom in 924) but after union with Hungary in 1102 it eventually became part of the Hapsburg Empire and only became truly independent again in 1991.
Finally, did anyone else notice the pitchside advert informing us that beer is available in pubs? Thank goodness for that…I’d been wondering where I could get some for next year. Imagine if you could watch football in pubs, that’d be great!
Enjoy the weekend.