Mixed reactions to World Cup draw

Updated: 25 February 2007 09:48 IST

In a World Cup draw turned upside down, one of the weaker teams whooped with delight when it drew defending champion Brazil in the first round.

Mixed reactions to World Cup draw

Leipzig:

In a World Cup draw turned upside down, one of the weaker teams whooped with delight when it drew defending champion Brazil in the first round. The world's second-ranked team then did everything possible to become an underdog. "When we drew Brazil there was a group of Australians who began to cheer as if we had just won 3-0," chuckled Australia coach Guus Hiddink. "We cannot be concerned about this. We are happy," Hiddink said despite becoming an even bigger outsider to reach the second round after drawing Brazil, Croatia and Japan in Group F. Fellow Dutch coach Leo Beenhakker, who leads outsider Trinidad and Tobago, was equally unperturbed after drawing England in Group B. "It's great for every coach and player to play England," he said. Favourites 'on paper'England coach Sven-Goran Eriksson said he thought his team and Sweden the favorites to advance "on paper." "We don't play on paper, we play on grass," Beenhakker said. Ghanaians began cheering and waving their flag during the ceremony at the Leipzig Messe when they drew Italy and finished up with the United States and the Czech Republic. "If we get through the first round, it will feel like being world champions," Ghana coach Ratomir Dujkovic said. Next to him, Czech Republic coach Karel Bruckner was looking much more pensive and glum, despite having his team ranked second in the world. "Please write down, 'Italy is the favorite,'" Bruckner said. France takes it easyEven 1998 champion France, in a relatively easy group with South Korea, Switzerland and Togo, failed to grin at its luck. "I'm already hearing talk of this being an easy group," said France coach Raymond Domenech, quickly taking everyone back to the World Cup three years ago, where Les Bleus lost the opening game to another African outsider on the way to a shocking opening-round exit. "Remember Senegal in 2002," he said. This time, Germany gets the opening game, and also plays a little-fancied team - Costa Rica. "If there is a game that Germany could lose, it is that one," Costa Rica coach Alexandre Guimaraes said. At least Germany coach Juergen Klinsmann was man enough to admit Germany was lucky to draw Poland, Ecuador and Costa Rica. "It could have been much worse," he said. "We believe that this is a doable group. ... But we have a good feeling." Brazil eyes advanceNo one had as imperial a reaction as five-time champion Brazil, a favorite to win another next summer. After drawing Australia, Croatia and Japan, coach Carlos Alberto Parreira was already looking beyond, where no other coach dared look. "We will probably play Italy or the Czech Republic after advancing from the first round," he said. He did not even consider the United States, but its coach Bruce Arena was already dreading the prospect to face the champion. "I'll be drinking in the hotel bar," if a game did materialize against Brazil, or Croatia. (AP)



Topics : Football Cricket
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