The draw for the 2010 World Cup is here. Fixtures will be up shortly.
When England’s 2010 World Cup qualifying group was announced, one tabloid headline – “Oh No! It’s Cro!” summed up the public reaction best. England need to win their group to qualify for South Africa 2010 and seeing Croatia’s impressive (and consistent) record in the Euro 2008 qualifiers, it would be a tough, tough task.
Fabio Capello’s appointment has given some hope, although the real redemption will begin with the February friendly where Capello will take charge of England for the first time. His brief is to firstly qualify for, and secondly get as close as possible to winning, the 2010 World Cup.
On paper, Croatia are all that stand between England and World Cup 2010, but as the cliche goes, England somewhat suck as a team, so it will take a lot of hard work from the players and Capello himself to get to South Africa. That, and the fact that he has to pick a squad NOW that will be good enough to win the World Cup in 2010, and that in itself means making some hard choices (in terms of dropping players permanently or picking young ones). In any case, I’ll be discussing the squad soon – for now…
England’s fixtures for the qualifying stage of the 2010 World Cup:
Andorra (a) Saturday, September 6 2008
Croatia (a) Wednesday, September 10 2008
Kazakhstan (h) Saturday, October 11 2008
Belarus (a) Wednesday, October 15 2008
Ukraine (h) Wednesday, April 1 2009
Kazakhstan (a) Saturday, June 6 2009
Andorra (h) Wednesday, June 10 2009
Croatia (h) Wednesday, September 9 2009
Ukraine (a) Saturday, October 10 2009
Belarus (h) Wednesday, October 14 2009
Hopefully this time England will effectively *win* the group by beating Croatia at home and the last two games will have far less pressure.