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Blatter Pleased With World Cup Draw

posted 6 Dec 2013, 12:31 by Mpelembe Admin   [ updated 6 Dec 2013, 12:32 ]

COSTA DO SAUIPE, BAHIABRAZIL (DECEMBER 5, 2013) (REUTERS) -  FIFA President Sepp Blatter on Friday (December 6) said he was pleased with the 2104 World Cup draw which finally placed the 32 nations competing in next summer's finals into eight first round groups.

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Friday's complicated draw procedure went off smoothly and Blatter said the eight groups were well on par.

"It was a real exciting draw and I would say that if you want to win the World Cup you have to win all matches. So, therefore, you cannot speak to say one group is better than the other but I think, more or less, they are all balanced and it will be a very interesting World Cup and in all the cities, now, they have made the distribution of all the matches. Everybody is happy in Brazil," Blatter said.

Host nation Brazil will kick off next year's soccer World Cup against Croatia in Sao Paulo on June 12 and the favourites will be happy with a Group A also containing Mexico and Cameroon as they seek their sixth title.

As holders Spain and 2010 runners-up Netherlands were put together in the group stages, but have a tough task with Chile and Australia alongside them in Group B.

England, Italy and Uruguay, all former winners, were put together, along with Costa Rica, in Group D, with England facing Italy in the jungle city of Manaus in their first game.

Germany will come face to face with their former striker and coach Juergen Klinsmann, now in charge of the United States, with Portugal and Ghana completing the Group G line-up.

France, who qualified via the playoffs, will be pleased with a Group E placing alongside Ecuador,Switzerland and Honduras.

Bosnia, the only one of the 32 teams taking part in their first World Cup finals, face Argentina, Iran and Nigeria.

The group each team is drawn into also determined where they will play.

There are 12 host cities throughout Brazil, the world's fifth largest country by area and some games will be played midday under a hot, tropical sun, but Blatter said the hosts are prepared.

"The organizers in the various cities are very happy with the distribution of the teams in the different groups. So, we are going forward with this. As Nelson Mandela said football is to unite the people. Football is for building bridges. So, we will do this next year with football," Blatter said referring to the South African antiapartheid leader who died Thursday (December 5) night.

Honduras, who drew into Group E will try to improve on an uninspiring display at the 2010 World Cup when they managed to complete their group without scoring a goal.

"Honduras is a country that is growing. It still has many steps to go. The most important thing to date, I don't know, is that we have gotten to this first stage. We want more. We want to get to the second and third stage. We would be very happy with that," said Honduras coach Luis Fernando Suarez.

The final is in Rio de Janeiro on July 13.