Many international managers are already thinking about their route to the 2014 FIFA World Cup after the qualifying draw was announced.On Saturday in Rio de Janiero, Brazil, national teams learnt the path they will have to conquer if they are to qualify.
Reigning world and European champions Spain were drawn in Group I alongside France, Belarus, Georgia and Finland and coach Vicente del Bosque knows progressing will not be easy.
“France are our main rivals in this group but we must also have respect for every opponent,” Del Bosque told Spanish newspaper Marca, before labelling his opponents as ‘dangerous’.
“We do not know the weather we may face on such trips and there are a lot of variables in each game, which we will need to deal with. Today, you cannot take anyone for granted.”
World Cup runners-up Netherlands will face Turkey, Hungary, Romania, Estonia and Andorra in Group D as they attempt to repeat their run to the final in South Africa.
Netherlands coach, Bert van Marwijk, feels his side have been handed a tough draw but is looking forward to Brazil.
“It’s a difficult draw. You can’t change the draw, you have to beat all your opponents, that’s it,” van Marwijk said.
“Brazil are the best football nation ever, they have won the World Cup five times, everybody here supports them, they have 190 million people, they have so many good players.”
“I think they will organise the World Cup very well, it’s a country that breathes football and I like it.”
If they are to qualify, Germany will head to Brazil as one of the favourites after their young players impressed with a third-place finish last year.
They are in Group C with Sweden, the Republic of Ireland, Austria, Kazakhstan and the Faroe Islands.
“It’s very interesting for our players to play against Ireland. They must be motivated and focused, Ireland is a team that are in such good shape, they have some interesting players that can make things difficult, but I prefer to play in this atmosphere,” German general manager Oliver Bierhoff said.
“Playing against the smaller teams isn’t easy either, even the smaller teams in Europe are tough to beat these days.”
England will attempt to qualify from Group H, against Montenegro, Ukraine, Poland, Moldova and San Marino, but manager Fabio Capello insists his players must be cautious.
“I think England need to be careful,” Capello said.
“Moldova will be easy again, but Ukraine, Poland and Montenegro will be not so easy to beat.”