Out of this World

Capello can be satisfied after avoiding global big guns

Venables: upbeat

Fabio Capello should have a smile on his face after the 2010 World Cup draw.

"They (the England players) are all going to say there are no easy games and of course that is true but that draw is as good as could have been expected."

Terry Venables

Quotes of the week

That was the consensus of Sky Sports News's panel - Terry Venables, Roy Hodgson and David Seaman - after England came out in Group C alongside the USA, Algeria and Slovenia.

Former England boss Terry Venables was particularly upbeat as he looked forward to this year's tournament, which gets underway in South Africa in June.

"They (the England players) are all going to say there are no easy games and of course that is true but that draw is as good as could have been expected," said Venables. "I think we all agree with that.

"Roy said you could hand pick that and be happy with it. It's all very blasé but we've got to be very satisfied with that.

"We've got to accept that we are expected to progress from this group so let's be very happy and make sure we do."

Hodgson echoed those sentiments, saying: "It's a fantastic draw. The only possible blot on the horizon is that the group that we are going to be playing against when the team qualifies is going to throw up some very tough games.

"Group D (Germany, Australia, Ghana, Serbia) is a very tough group and we could play Germany in the first knockout round."

Quality

England will begin their tournament on June 12 in Rustenburg against the USA - a team they have beaten seven times in nine contests - although one of those defeats did come in the 1950 World Cup.

David Beckham, who has been plying his trade with the Los Angeles Galaxy, pulled the ball out of the pot to pair the two nations together and Hodgson believes familiarity could make this the toughest of England's group matches.

"The USA are a well-organised, well-drilled team. They have players with a lot of experience of either playing in England or Germany.

"The USA won't be surprised by the way England play but England by the same token aren't going to be surprised by what the USA come with and I think that can be a good thing in the opening game.

"But I think England have just got far too much quality for the USA and under normal circumstances I think we can feel reasonably confident."

Former England goalkeeper Seaman felt the fact the match will kick-off in the evening in cooler temperatures would make for a better spectacle.

"That could possibly be our hardest game of the group," he reflected. "It's a big pressure game but it's an evening kick off. We've got two evening kick-offs. Get the points sorted there and then we are coasting. I'm happy with that group."

Relief

Algeria, rated 28th in the world, have never got through the group stages and had to overcome Egypt in a one-off contest last month to qualify this time around.

"We know how good the African teams are," said Hodgson. "We certainly fear the ones like Ghana, Cameroon and the Ivory Coast so if you get an African side other than those you've got to be quite satisfied."

There was an audible sigh of relief in the studio as England avoided Portugal in pot four and instead drew Slovenia for their final group match - an afternoon kick-off at the Nelson Mandela Bay Stadium in Port Elizabeth on June 23.

Slovenia reached their second World Cup finals by shocking Russia in the play-offs but despite that feat Venables said: "I don't think England can argue with that draw, can they?"