Friday, November 23, 2007

Sounds like we could get ANOTHER summer off

So the breaking news this lunchtime is not another potential England manager throwing their hat into the ring (or removing it), but news of the latest FIFA rankings. England have now dropped to twelfth in the world (and tenth in Europe), which is probably quite fair after recent matches, but a little embarrassing nonetheless.

So what does this mean? Well the qualifying draw for the 2010 World Cup is made on Sunday, and since there will be nine qualifying groups in Europe, and England are only ranked tenth - we will be in the second pot of teams. This obviously means we will get drawn against one of the top seeds (i.e. Italy, Spain, Germany, Czech Republic, France, Portugal, Netherlands, Croatia or Greece). No surprises so far.

However, what I did not realise is that the format will be slightly different this time around and only the group winners automatically qualify for the World Cup. Not only do second place teams have to fight it out in a round of play-offs, but only the best eight second place teams qualify for those play-offs. So depending on how tough a draw we get on Sunday, we could find ourselves with a tough ask in order to qualify for the next World Cup (it's a good job we want to host the one after that, as it might be our only hope of qualifying).

And the upshot of all of this? England's current form needs to turn-around and for that a new man needs to come in who can get the best out of the Premier League stars (or "big heads" as Roy Keane likes to call them). I'd love Mourinho to take the job, but I don't think he will. I guess my second choice would be Lippi, and if that doesn't come off... well I'm still available!

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