World Cup groups
2010 WC finalists drawn in same group
REIGNING champions Spain will begin their defence of the World Cup with a rematch of the 2010 final against the Netherlands, while England were paired with Italy in yesterday’s draw.
Spain, who won their first title in South Africa four years ago, start their Group B campaign against the three-time runners-up on June 13 in Salvador.
They will also meet Chile, who they beat in the group stage in 2010, in Rio and Australia in Curitiba.
Hosts Brazil were drawn to face Croatia in the opening game, scheduled for Sao Paulo on June 12.
The Brazilians will then take on Mexico and Cameroon in a Group A that appears on the face of it unthreatening, if not easy.
England, meanwhile, will start off with a Group D meeting against four-time champions Italy in the heat of Amazonian venue Manaus on June 14.
That match is a repeat of the Euro 2012 quarter- final, which Italy, who knocked England out of the 1978 World Cup qualifiers, won on penalties.
“It’s a tough group, there’s no doubt about that,” said England coach Roy Hodgson, whose team also face Uruguay and Costa Rica.
“In Italy and Uruguay it’s almost as though we have got two number one seeds in our group.”
Hodgson’s side then take on Uruguay in Sao Paulo and Costa Rica in Belo Horizonte.
A notable subplot will see Germany go up against the United States, now coached by former Germany coach Jurgen Klinsmann. Also in Group G are Cristiano Ronaldo’s Portugal and Ghana.
The draw build-up had been dominated by news of stadium delays and anti-World Cup campaigners threatening public protest.
Yesterday’s lottery involved some complex juggling by Fifa to separate as far as possible teams from the same continent.
And, while five groups unavoidably contained two European sides, given the Old Continent’s 13 qualifiers in the 32-strong field, they just about managed it.
All eight former champions are taking part and only surprise package Bosnia- Herzegovina will be making their debut.
France, champions in 1998 but forced to come through the playoffs, will meet Group E seeds Switzerland as well as Ecuador and Honduras in what should leave coach and 1998 Group A Brazil, Croatia, Mexico, Cameroon Group B Spain, Netherlands, Chile, Australia Group C Colombia, Greece, Ivory Coast, Japan Group D Uruguay, Costa Rica, England, Italy Group E Switzerland, Ecuador, France, Honduras Group F Argentina, Bosnia-Herzegovina, Iran, Nigeria Group G Germany, Portugal, Ghana, USA Group H Belgium, Algeria, Russia, South Korea winning captain Didier Deschamps generally optimistic.
Other groups threw up some mixed bags as Japan were lumped in with seeded Colombia, Ivory Coast and Greece in Group C while Bosnia have to impress against the might of two- time champions Argentina, Iran and Nigeria in Group F.
Group H, completing the line-up, contains seeded Belgium, unpredictable Russia, South Korea – semi-finalists on home soil in 2002 – and Algeria.
● Ghana midfielder KevinPrince Boateng has said he is delighted to potentially face half brother Jerome Boateng at another World Cup when the Black Stars play Germany at Brazil 2014.
Ghana’s Black Stars will play Germany in Fortalez on June 21 in Group G, having also drawn Portugal and the USA, meaning Schalke’s attacking midfielder Kevin Prince could be up against Bayern Munich centre-back Jerome.
This is not the first time the brothers have met at a World Cup as they both played when Germany beat Ghana 1-0 at the 2010 World Cup – the first time brothers had played on opposite teams at a World Cup.
“Brother, it’s time again... that’s how beautiful life is!” Kevin- Prince wrote on his Twitter account.
Boateng will also be up against Schalke teammate Jermaine Jones when the USA play Ghana in Natal on June 16.
“I’m happy with that,” Boateng told Sport Bild.
“You can see that dreams can come true.
“I am looking to another game against my brother at the World Cup.
“And also against my teammate Jermaine Jones, he’s simply great.” – Sapa-AFP