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Lucky draw for Lahm & Co, Ribéry to face Spain

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Lucky draw for Lahm & Co, Ribéry to face Spain

Postby FCBayernNews » Sun Jul 31, 2011 8:50 am

The draw for the qualifying groups for the World Cup 2014 in Brazil has thrown up a number of mouth-watering ties for the Bayern stars. The Germany contingent find themselves in a less than challenging group, but Franck Ribéry in particular was out of luck at the event in Rio de Janeiro, as the France midfielder and his team-mates landed in a section with world champions Spain.

The club's eight Germany internationals Manuel Neuer, Philipp Lahm, Holger Badstuber, Jerome Boateng, Bastian Schweinsteiger, Toni Kroos, Thomas Müller and Mario Gomez start out on qualifying in September 2012 as clear favourites to win their group. All-time World Cup top scorer Ronaldo drew seeded Germany into Group C against Sweden, Ireland, Austria with their Bayern man David Alaba, the Faeroe Islands and Kazakhstan.

"We're happy enough. It's not an easy group, but we're delighted we've avoided France. Naturally, we're favourites, but we'll need to concentrate on the task," said Germany team manager Oliver Bierhoff, who represented coach Joachim Löw in Brazil. Germany are the most successful nation in World Cup qualifying history with just two defeats in 74 qualifying fixtures.

Tough tasks for Ribéry and Tymo

The group line-up confirmed Germany's almost traditional luck when it comes to major draw ceremonies such as Saturday night's, but France and their FCB star Franck Ribéry were handed a considerably tougher assignment. Les Bleues were drawn into Group I along with world champions Spain, and also face Belarus, against whom they have only taken one of a possible six points in the current qualifying campaign for Euro 2012. France's remaining opponents in Group I are Georgia and Finland.

There was also a challenging draw for Ukraine captain Anatoliy Tymoshchuk in Group H, where the East Europeans will play England, Montenegro, Poland, Moldova and San Marino. By contrast, Arjen Robben and his Netherlands team-mates will not be dissatisfied with the Group D line-up of Turkey, Hungary, Romania, Estonia and Andorra.

Olic and Pranjic versus Val Buyten

Both Ivica Olic and Danijel Pranjic will have reasonable hopes of qualifying for the 2014 finals. The Croatia pair were drawn in Group A to face Serbia, Belgium, Scotland, Macedonia and Wales, thereby setting up an all-Bayern duel with fellow Munich man Daniel van Buyten.

All in all, the European qualifying tournament features 53 contenders divided into eight groups of six and one of five. The nine group winners qualify directly for the tournament in Brazil, with the eight best runners-up taking part in play-offs to determine four further World Cup participants. The qualifying tournament begins on 7 September 2012, following the European championship in Poland and Ukraine, and concludes on 19 November 2013.

Manageable task for Usami

Elsewhere, World Cup qualifying in Asia is already underway. Japan and their new Bayern signing Takashi Usami were handed a bye for the first two qualifying rounds and have yet to enter the qualifying competition. The Japanese will now play Uzbekistan, Syria and North Korea in Group C. Provided they finish in the top two places, Japan will progress to the fourth and final qualifying round, in which the continent's 4 1/2 places at the World Cup will be assigned.

In complete contrast, Luiz Gustavo, Rafinha and Breno have no qualifying worries at all, as five-time world champions Brazil qualify automatically for the 2014 finals. The FCB men will now aim to forward their case for inclusion in the national squad for the World Cup on home soil with excellent performances at club level.
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