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By ESPN Staff

Eriksson wants to avoid Holland, Australia

Sven-Goran Eriksson has named Holland, Australia and the United States as the trio he would like England to avoid in this evening's World Cup draw.

Eriksson will learn which three foes will stand in England's way during the group stage of next summer's finals.

But while the desire to avoid Holland from the European pot is obvious given the star-studded Dutch squad, it is the extra desire brought on by a common language which Eriksson is worried about with the other two.

'The English-speaking countries are desperate to beat England in a big tournament, which is why I don't want to play against Australia or the United States,' said Eriksson.

'But there is a wider aspect to Australia. There is a sporting rivalry between the two countries. What I saw during the summer when England won the cricket was amazing.

'If I had known all about the rivalry, I would never have played that friendly against them.

'It was far from a friendly game. They wanted to beat us, and they did.'

That infamous friendly at Upton Park saw Australia triumph 3-1, although it is more widely known as the night Eriksson fielded two entirely different teams in each half.

While the Swede's attitude to friendlies - at least up to last month's superb win over Argentina - his record in competitive matches is impressive.

However, he does admit he will have some homework ahead over the Christmas period if he finds England paired with one of the lesser known African nations who have made it into the final 32.

'I will go to the African Nations Cup if we are drawn against an African team because there are some of these sides I know next to nothing about,' he said.

Of Africa's five entrants, Eriksson has seen just one in action live, Didier Drogba's Ivory Coast, so a trip to the African Nations Cup will be on the cards should the draw steer England in the direction of Togo, Ghana or Angola, all of whom will be making their World Cup bow next summer.

Aside from Holland, the European pot contains obvious dangers in the Czech Republic, Sweden, who England failed to beat in Japan four years ago, and the Ukraine, who include lethal striker Andrei Shevchenko in their ranks.

Eriksson's desire to avoid the United States in the fourth pot is obvious enough given it also includes Costa Rica, Saudi Arabia and Iran, whose impact on previous World Cups has been minimal, plus the co-hosts four years ago Japan and South Korea, who both exploited home advantage to the full but have never really excelled anywhere else.

If there are makeweights in any group, they are likely to come from this section, although Eriksson believes the days of bigger countries routinely hammering weaker ones are at an end.

'I don't believe we will see many 4-0 or 5-0 victories,' he said.

'The differences between teams reduce at every tournament and I anticipate there will be a lot of tight games.'