Sunday, November 25, 2007

Avoiding the banana-skin

RIGHT about now, every four years, there's a far more important ballot than the one we've just been witness to down under, as refreshing as the result last night was.

It's the prelimary draw for the World Cup qualifications, which takes place in the early hours of tomorrow morning (1.50am Sydney time) on SBS.

Up until this campaign there's been little interest in who the Socceroos draw in the early throws, with the likes of Vanauatu and American Samoa offering very little resistance.

Now, with the move into Asia and our first World Cup qualification path through the region, the draw from Durban throws up far more intrigue, with the Socceroos hopeful of avoiding any banana-skins. So the prelim draw seedings offer a bit to mull over.

The Managerless Roos have been afforded the top seeding, in pot 1, as much for their work in Germany, so it means we'll avoid big guns South Korea, Iran, Japan and Saudi Arabia in the third (our first) phase, which features five groups of four.

But naturally, there are some nations in the other pots who are best to avoid in the early going, especially as the new manager, whoever he is, beds down his thoughts and modus operandi.

For example, if we were drawn with Uzbekistan or China from pot 2, Asian champs Iraq or the UAE from pot 3 and Asian Cup nemisis Thailand from pot 4, it wouldn't be the easiest of first phases.

Still, whatever group we draw, it would be a massive upset if we didn't finish in the top two, safely navigating a passage to the fourth qualification phase, where the real fireworks should begin.

Any preferences or thoughts on the prelim draw?


Blogger Mike Salter said...

...For example, if we were drawn with Uzbekistan or China from pot 2, Asian champs Iraq or the UAE from pot 3...

O thy prophetic soul, Tony. ;-)

Mon. Nov. 26, 01:27:00 pm AEDT  
Blogger The Round Ball Analyst said...

It's a tough one Mike, no doubt about that, esp with no coach, but we should be strong enough to get through this phase at least.

If not, what a disaster.

Tue. Nov. 27, 01:11:00 pm AEDT  

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