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England aviod big names in World Cup draw

England were handed what appears, on paper at least, a favourable group in the qualifying draw for the 2014 World Cup in Brazil. Last night’s draw in Rio de Janerio placed England in Group H with Montenegro, Ukraine, Poland, Moldova and San Marino.

Scotland and Wales were drawn together in Group A with Croatia, Serbia, Belgium and Macedonia while Northern Ireland will play Portugal, Russia, Israel, Azerbaijan and Luxembourg in Group F. The Republic of Ireland will have to navigate a difficult looking Group C with Germany, Sweden, Austria, the Faroe Islands and Kazakhstan as their opponents.

Although Fabio Capello will leave the England job following the conclusion of the Euro 2012 campaign, the Italian warned that there his successor can have no room for complacency despite the favourable nature of the qualifying draw.

‘You have to be really, really focused and play every game like a final. England need to be careful, this will not be easy,’ Capello said after the draw. ‘Obviously we know Montenegro [from Euro 2012 qualifiers], Ukraine we played in qualification for the World Cup in South Africa. Poland are improving, because they are one of the hosts of the next European Championship. I don't know Moldova, but San Marino will be easy again.’

Rio Ferdinand also commented on England’s qualifying group. Writing on Twitter last night the England defender said: ‘England WC [World Cup] qualifying group is similar to most qualifying campaigns, some tricky away games but have to be looking to qualify top.’

Sir Trevor Brooking, the FA’s director of football, was another who reacted enthusiastically to the draw telling reporters that ‘We can't complain at the draw. We could have had a lot worse. I [think] we will qualify.’

World Cup holders Spain, however, were drawn in Group I which appears the toughest of all. The 2012 champions will play France, Belarus, Georgia and Finland for a place in the finals in what many have dubbed the group of death.

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