World Cup news

England could face France

July 27, 2011

England could face a worst-case scenario of having to play France in qualifying for the 2014 World Cup after the pots for Saturday's draw were revealed.

Wayne Rooney
GettyImagesWayne Rooney and England could face France in qualifying for the 2014 World Cup

As expected, England are among the top seeds, placed in Pot One, but France are in Pot Two, along with the likes of Russia and Sweden.

The pot allocations are based on the FIFA world rankings, and the latest standings were announced on Wednesday, with Fabio Capello's England down two places to sixth. France currently stand 15th.

Giovanni Trapattoni's Republic of Ireland are in Pot Three, while Scotland and Northern Ireland are in Pot Four.

Wales' recent struggles are reflected in their placing in Pot Six, alongside the likes of San Marino, Malta and Andorra. The Faroe Islands are in Pot Five, and are level in 112th place with Wales in the FIFA rankings.

Meanwhile, FIFA announced the 2014 World Cup finals will start on June 12 and finish on July 13. The announcement comes three days before the preliminary draw for the tournament, comprising 203 teams playing an eventual 824 matches across the globe.

At a news conference in Rio, FIFA president Sepp Blatter also said a decision whether to introduce goal-line technology would be taken at next March's meeting in London of the International FA Board, the game's lawmakers.

If approved, he said, it could be implemented at the World Cup finals two years later. FIFA also announced that the World Cup play-off system, heavily criticised after Thierry Henry's infamous handball for France against Ireland, would be maintained.