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Will Germany And England Meet in `Death Valley`?

Posted November. 30, 2001 09:21,   


What if England and Germany face each other in the first round of the 2002 World Cup finals following the regional qualifiers?

It is only an assumption, but it is not an impossible story. It is with a probability of one for eleven that England, which was placed in the second pot missing the top seeds, might face seeded Germany, because among 11 European countries in the second pot, 8 countries will be allotted in each group by draw.

Moreover, if Uruguay and Nigeria join the same group from the third pot and the fourth pot, the group will turn a death valley just like having salt rubbed into a wound. The number of titles recorded by these four countries totals 6 World Cup titles and 1 Olympic title, exceeding all other groups.

With full draw for World Cup ahead, all kinds of grouping possibilities are thriving at the Busan Exhibition & Convention Center in which soccer representatives and news agencies from the whole world gathered.

And complaining that the FIFA confirmed that China would play in South Korea, the Japanese press raised the speculation on the conspiracy that the FIFA was attempting to place China in A group with France for commercial success.

Co-hosts Korea (D group) and Japan (H group) is waiting anxiously for full draw, considering a probability of 25 percent.

According to the new policy of the FIFA, no more than two European countries can play in the same group. Since the second pot consists of only European teams, top-seeded France, Germany, Italy and Spain come to satisfy the new rule only with the second pot draw. The remaining seeded countries are Korea, Japan, Brazil and Argentina. As three European countries missing the second pot draw will be replaced in the third pot, it is with a probability of 25 percent that non-European countries can face European countries in the same group.

Therefore, some experts anticipate that if Korea and Japan belong to the same group as a European team of the second pot, a non-European team such as Ecuador, Paraguay, Uruguay among the third pot, and a team among Costa Rica, the U.S. and Mexico of the fourth pot, they will be able to pass through the first round relatively easily.

Keuk-In Bae bae2150@donga.com