World Cup Draw 世界杯小组抽签
For football fans across the world, next year’s World Cup just drew one step closer 更进了一步 as the draw 抽签 for the group stages 小组赛阶段 was held in Cape Town, South Africa, on Friday.
In a glitzy ceremony 华丽的仪式 featuring South-African born Hollywood actress Charlize Theron and England star David Beckham, the 32 qualified teams 资格队 （32强） were drawn into eight groups of four.
Spain and Brazil are placed first and second in FIFA’s rankings 国际足联排名 respectively and are favourites to go all the way 最终获胜 in South Africa but many in England feel that next year will be their best chance for success in decades.
England were drawn in Group C alongside the United States, Slovenia and Algeria, none of whom are considered major footballing nations 足球大国.
England boss Fabio Capello was pleased with the grouping, though cautioned 谨慎地说 that “every opponent will be strong”.
Former England striker Alan Shearer was less reserved 保守的:
“Fabio will have a broad smile 笑容满面 and quietly, will be very confident.”
“If you’d have offered that group to Fabio this morning he would have bitten your hand off.”
Alan Shearer, former England player
When he says Fabio would have “bitten your hand off”, he means the England manager would have taken the opportunity with absolutely no hesitation.
Interestingly, this World Cup is also the first time that both North and South Korea have qualified at the same time, though the sides will not face each other in the group stages.
And for North Korea, a draw in Group G with Brazil, Portugal and Ivory Coast makes progressing into the next round look all-but-impossible 几乎不可能.
World Cup 2010 Groups
Group A: South Africa, Mexico, Uruguay, France
Group B: Argentina, Nigeria, South Korea, Greece
Group C: England, United States, Algeria, Slovenia
Group D: Germany, Australia, Serbia, Ghana
Group E: Netherlands, Denmark, Japan, Cameroon
Group F: Italy, Paraguay, New Zealand, Slovakia
Group G: Brazil, North Korea, Ivory Coast, Portugal
Group H: Spain, Switzerland, Honduras, Chile
The group has been ominously dubbed 不吉利地被称为 the “Group of Death” as it has three high quality sides, one of whom is certain to go out in the group stage as only the top two in each group go through.
Next year will be the first time the World Cup has been held in an African country and will also feature a record number of six African teams.
Traditionally the host nation 主办国 have done well, but South Africa, or Bafana Bafana as they are affectionately known 亲昵地称为 by their fans, have struggled 挣扎 recently and are ranked only 86th in the world.
But though their team will have to overcome tough sides like France and Mexico, at least they’ll have the support of their army of vuvuzela-blowing吹喇叭助威的方式 football-mad 足球狂热 fans to count on.
China did not qualify for next year’s event, but with 185 days to go until the big event, you’ve still got a long time to decide who to support.