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England wait to see if they need to swap in World Cup draw

By Western Morning News  |  Posted: December 03, 2013

By Martyn Ziegler and Paul Hirst

Roy Hodgson

Roy Hodgson

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England will be among an unseeded pot of European countries for Friday's draw for the 2014 World Cup finals in Brazil, organisers have confirmed.

FIFA, the game's global governing body, has announced the procedure of the draw and, as expected, the eight seeded teams who will be kept apart for the group stage have been chosen according to October's world rankings.

The draw will be organised so that there will be no more than two European teams in any group of four countries, and all the South American teams will be kept apart.

It means England will have to face one of the top seeds – hosts Brazil, Argentina, Colombia, Uruguay, Spain, Germany, Belgium and surprise seeds Switzerland – who are in Pot One.

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The countries in Pot Two are the unseeded South American countries and the qualifiers from Africa: Algeria, Cameroon, Chile, Ivory Coast, Ecuador, Ghana and Nigeria.

Pot Three is made up of the teams from Asia and north and central America: Australia, Costa Rica, Honduras, Iran, Japan, South Korea, Mexico and United States.

In Pot Four there are nine unseeded European teams: Bosnia-Herzegovina, Croatia, England, France, Greece, Italy, Holland, Portugal and Russia.

In order to make the number in each pot equal, at the start of the draw, one of the nine European teams will be drawn into Pot Two, and will definitely face one of the seeded South American sides. Regardless of what might lie in wait in terms of his side's opponents, England manager Roy Hodgson is dreading the prospect of the Three Lions being forced to play one of their matches in the jungle.

Rio de Janeiro, where England played Brazil in a friendly in June, enjoys reasonable temperatures of about 25 degrees centigrade in the summer, but in Manaus – a city located right in the heart of the Amazon rain forest – temperatures soar way beyond 30 degrees and humidity levels can reach up to 86 per cent.

Hodgson said: "Manaus will be a difficult venue for everyone, but for northern European players it will be a little bit harder.

"The tropicality of Manaus is the problem. Manaus is the place ideally to avoid, and Porto Alegre is the place ideally to get."

In the build-up to the World Cup, the Three Lions will play their farewell friendly at Wembley on May 29 before embarking on a two-game tour of the United States. Five days before the tournament begins, they will fly to Brazil.

FIFA president Sepp Blatter insisted he has the "utmost confidence" that Brazil's 12 stadiums will be ready in time – but at least two, Curitiba and Sao Paulo, will not be completed until February.

Blatter said: "The problems we now face regarding the stadiums are so small we can close our eyes.

"But we deplore the loss of the two people who lost their lives last week and we are feeling sad with the families."

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