Del Bosque expected Dutch test

Blackpool Citizen: The 32 managers learned the fate of their respective countries in Brazil The 32 managers learned the fate of their respective countries in Brazil

Spain manager Vicente Del Bosque was proved correct after the world champions were drawn to meet Holland in their opening game of next summer's World Cup in Brazil.

Del Bosque told friends before Friday's draw that he expected to be paired against the Oranje - who they beat 1-0 to lift the Jules Rimet trophy in Johannesburg three years ago.

That proved to be the case as Spain were also pooled with Chile and Australia in a tough-looking Group B.

Spain will meet Holland in Salvador, coincidentally where the draw was made, on the second day of the tournament.

"It has not been an easy draw for us and in fact it will be rather complicated," Del Bosque said in comments posted on the Spanish national team's official website.

"I told some close friends this morning that we would get Holland in the first game and that is how it turned out. Holland have changed the way they play but have still got [Rafael] Van der Vaart, [Arjen] Robben and [Robin] Van Persie."

Spain's task may not get any easier should they progress with hosts Brazil potentially awaiting in the round of 16.

Brazil will open the tournament against Croatia in Sao Paulo on June 12 and will be fully expected to progress after Cameroon - the second lowest-ranked team in FIFA's list - and Mexico were pooled with them.

"I imagine Brazil will be first, so we have to look to be the first too," Del Bosque said.

Holland boss Louis van Gaal admitted his side face a tough task to progress, but at least found some relief in the fact that they avoided playing in the heat and humidity of northern Brazil.

"It's a tough draw in terms of the opponents we will face, but in terms of the conditions it is okay," he said in comments on Voetbal International.

"We are playing against the world champions Spain and against Australia who we have never beaten.

"I watched Chile playing in qualifying in Colombia when they led 3-0. It finished 3-3 but they are not a bad team."

The other notable draws came in Group D (Uruguay, Italy, England and Costa Rica) and Group G (Germany, Portugal, United States and Ghana).

Italy were the unlucky European nation to be thrust into Pot Two and their lack of luck was further compounded with a first-up match against England in the Amazonian city of Manaus on June 15.

Italy coach Cesare Prandelli put a brave face on the outcome, telling reporters: "There are three champions of the world in our group but we are not worried - I am not worried.

"When the media tell you it's an easy group, that's when you have to worry. I'm only worried about the conditions because no matter who you are up against, you're going to have to deal with the weather.

"Our toughest opponent? Costa Rica, because we do not know a lot about them."

Germany coach Joachim Low admitted it was "special" to be drawn against Jurgen Klinsmann's USA.

Low worked under Klinsmann at the 2006 World Cup in Germany, and told the German Football Association (DFB) website: "We're not only facing Jurgen Klinsmann again, but we also had Ghana in our 2010 World Cup group and Portugal at Euro 2012, so we'll be facing some familiar faces, but it's certainly special to have the USA in the group."

Germany will now set about the task of confirming their base for the tournament, with their matches in the northern cities of Salvador, Fortaleza and Recife.

"We know now who we're up against and where we're playing, so now we can take the next step and work towards the World Cup," he said. "We're going to have to get to the hot and humid conditions."

France scraped through to the World Cup finals but were handed arguably the most straightforward draw after being paired with Switzerland, Ecuador and Honduras in Group E.

Russia manager Fabio Capello was also content after his side were pooled in Group H with Belgium, Algeria and South Korea.

"The draw is not so bad," he told the BBC.

"Another important thing is the location we play is in the centre of Brazil, not the north where it is real warm and humid and difficult to recover energy. I am happy."

Lionel Messi's Argentina were also dealt a kind hand against Iran, Nigeria and debutants Bosnia-Herzegovina.

Iran boss Carlos Queiroz believes his side may be able to sneak through, telling the BBC: "It is a great opportunity for us to progress and be a better team. We come with an illusion to qualify for the second round."

In a largely friendly draw for the major South American nations Colombia will be up against Ivory Coast, Japan and Greece in Group C.

click2find

About cookies

We want you to enjoy your visit to our website. That's why we use cookies to enhance your experience. By staying on our website you agree to our use of cookies. Find out more about the cookies we use.

I agree