Newspaper article Evening Gazette (Middlesbrough, England)

Swiss Are Top of England's World Cup Draw Wish List; FOOTBALL

Newspaper article Evening Gazette (Middlesbrough, England)

Swiss Are Top of England's World Cup Draw Wish List; FOOTBALL

Article excerpt

ROY Hodgson always looks back fondly at his time as Switzerland manager, and he will no doubt be hoping for a reunion with the country famed for its love of cheese and clocks next summer.

England fans will be crossing their fingers tomorrow when the World Cup draw takes place in Salvador.

England boss Hodgson insists he is more concerned about the venues his team will play at next summer, than the opposition.

But the 66-year-old will have surely cast an eye over England's possible opponents as he will tailor the Three Lions' build-up campaign around the teams they will face in the group stage.

Hodgson has been to a World Cup draw before, of course. The England boss ended Switzerland's 28-year wait for tournament football when he guided them to USA 94.

He did not do too badly once he got to the World Cup either, taking the Swiss through a group containing Colombia, Romania and hosts USA before they were knocked out in the second round by Spain.

Switzerland will be top of Hodgson's wish-list for his second World Cup campaign next summer.

As England are not one of the top seven teams in the world, they are not seeded for the draw.

Strangely, Switzerland are one of those seeds. In all honesty, they stick out like the sore thumb of pot one.

The World Cup pedigree of Brazil, Spain, Germany, Argentina and Uruguay - who are all included in pot one - is not in question.

Colombia had a successful qualifying campaign and deserve their seeding while the other team in the pot, Belgium, have a galaxy of stars that light up the Barclays Premier League every weekend.

Switzerland's unbeaten qualifying campaign - in an easy group - was commendable, but they only claimed their position inside the top seven of the FIFA world rankings because Holland and Italy made massive errors by playing summer friendlies against Indonesia and San Marino, damaging their ranking points. …

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