The Euro qualifiers have just come to an end and one might think that enough is enough, let’s take a rest from football and do something a little more interesting instead.
Nothing could be farther from the truth. Football is a wonderful beast and has the ability to unite, divide, uplift and destroy. Witness the mass depression in England and the mass euphoria in Poland.
The great thing about footy is that it puts everything in context. War, politics, famine, drought all pale into insignificance when there are 22 young men kicking a ball around a park. Pretty strong stuff.
Euro 2008 takes place next year but all eyes have already turned to what will be the most exotic World Cup to date, in South Africa. The draw for the European qualifiers will certainly bring some spice into our lives:
Group 1 Portugal, Sweden, Denmark, Hungary, Albania, Malta
Group 2 Greece, Israel, Switzerland, Moldova, Latvia, Luxembourg
Group 3 Czech Republic, Poland, N. Ireland, Slovakia, Slovenia, San Marino
Group 4 Germany, Russia, Finland, Wales, Azerbaijan, Liechtenstein
Group 5 Spain, Turkey, Belgium, Bosnia-Herzegovina, Armenia, Estonia
Group 6 Croatia, England, Ukraine, Belarus, Kazakhstan, Andorra
Group 7 France, Romania, Serbia, Lithuania, Austria, Faroe Islands
Group 8 Italy, Bulgaria, Republic of Ireland, Cyprus, Georgia, Montenegro
Group 9 Holland, Scotland, Norway, FYR Macedonia, Iceland
Sweden will clash with Scandy buddies Denmark, Group 3 will be the clash of the Slavs with Poland, the Czech Republic, Slovakia and Slovenia battling it out. Will England once again lose to the Croatians? This group will also see an Eastern Slavonic battle between Belarus and Ukraine.
Oh the joy of footy…