Curtain comes up on earth delivers
FOR THE 32 nations wh o h ave g o n e through blood, sweat and tears to book their places at the World Cup Finals, it was the moment they had been waiting for.
Amid the glitz and glamour in Cape Town, the cold, hard facts of their opposition when t h e c o mpe t i t i o n k i c k s o ff i n Johannesburg next June were delivered.
The biggest show on earth will arrive in South Africa next summer and, like every blockbuster event, the most famous names and recognisable faces were there from Oscar-winning a c t r e s s Ch a r l i z e Th e r o n t o Springboks rugby World-Cup winning John Smit.
The draw was screened to millions of fans worldwide in more than 200 countries and put an end to the anxious wait for fans, players and coaches.
With the likes of England b o s s Fa b i o C a p e l l o , I t a l y ’s Marcello Lippi, Carlos Queiroz o f Por tu g a l , B r a z i l ’s Du n g a , Vicente Del Bosque of Spain and, of course, South Africa’s Ca r l o s A l b e r t o Pa r r e i r a i n attendance, it was the hottest ticket in town.
Unfortunately for Scotland, it is not on the guest list.
There will be no chance to t e st o u r t a c t i c a l n o u s w i t h Capello, our defensive strength against Ronaldo, indulge in a midfield tussle with Xavi or pit our attacking wits against Fabio Cannavaro.
Fo r t h e f i f t h F i n a l s d r aw ceremony in a row, there was no ball with Scotland’s name inside. With no entrant of our own to cheer on at South Africa 2010, fans across the country will be on the lookout for someone to support and not just anyone who happens to be playing England.
Here are the SPL stars whose nations will take part. Time to pick your team ... the squad for the double-header with Egypt. The Hearts defender has experience with M e t z , Ka i s e r s l a u t e r n a n d Galatasaray, and will hope to impress during the remainder of the season to secure h i ms e l f a p l a c e i n Al g e r i a ’s third World Cup campaign. The Killie striker has never been capped for the Aussies but has twice been called up to Pim Verbeek’s side. However, the 30-year-old has struggled with injury in recent seasons and will need a good end to the campaign if he is to catch the eye.