Favourites happy with World Cup play-off draw

14th October 2005, Comments 0 comments

14 October 2005, ZURICH - There were plenty of smiles from the three top seeded countries after the draw for the European World Cup qualifying play-offs on Friday provided them with the opposition that they had been hoping for.

14 October 2005

ZURICH - There were plenty of smiles from the three top seeded countries after the draw for the European World Cup qualifying play-offs on Friday provided them with the opposition that they had been hoping for.

Spain, the Czech Republic and Turkey will face Slovakia, Norway and Switzerland respectively in the ties, which are played on a home and away basis scheduled for 12 and 16 November.

Spanish defender David Albelda said that he expects his team to be favoured against Slovakia. "I think we are in with a better chance, but Slovakia is certainly a team that we know nothing about."

But before Spain can take on the Slovaks at home in the first leg, they need to secure a training ground for the side. Believing that they would qualify directly for the finals, the Spanish football federation have hired out the training ground for a few days before the match.

Turkish coach Fatih Terim said that Switzerland had been their preferred opponent and football federation president Levent Bicaki added that he believed it was an advantage that they were playing the first leg away.

"Switzerland is a team we know well and it is better to be away in the first game."

Czech coach Karel Bruckner, who will be without key striker Jan Koller for the play-offs against Norway, admitted that he did not know all that much about their opponent. "At the moment Norway is an unknown opponent, but I am sure it will not be easy. It is a bit of an advantage to play at home first.

The draw was conducted at the FIFA headquarters by the president of the German local World Cup organising committee, Franz Beckenbauer.

Beckenbauer, who won the World Cup both as coach and player, said that he regarded two of the ties to be very open. "I believe Spain will start as favourites against Slovakia, but I would say that the two other ties are too close to call."

The three winners advance to the World Cup finals.

DPA

Subject: German news

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