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The Toe Poke

Glenn Hoddle "delighted" with England's opponents

Former England manager Glenn Hoddle has told ESPN Soccernet that he is "delighted" with the country's World Cup draw, even if a clash with old foes Germany could be looming in the last 16.

• World Cup draw
• Capello remains wary

England manager Fabio Capello was present in Cape Town to see his side get drawn against the USA, Algeria and Slovenia in Group C. They kick off their campaign against USA in Rustenburg on June 12.

Hoddle, who managed England to the second round in 1998 before a heartbreaking penalty shoot-out defeat to Argentina, thinks Capello's side should qualify with ease from their group.

However, a likely meeting with either Germany or Ghana in the last 16 would pose a sterner test for the Italian manager.

"I couldn't be more happy, I just feel that this is as good as it can possibly get for England, and I couldn't be more delighted," Hoddle told ESPN Soccernet. "Nothing is easy when you get to the World cup, so I am loathe to use the word 'easy', but for me its the draw you would have wanted.

"Portugal and France, everyone has been saying, were the ones to avoid, and England avoided them. Don't forget that both Slovenia and Algeria had to fight their way through the play-offs, so I can see England and USA coming through first and second.

"For England the interesting scenario is who they meet in the last 16 and the first knock-out game. If Germany win their group as everyone expects, then it would be Ghana in my view and they will be tough with a player like Essien in their side.

"But you just know there is going to be a big upset caused by one of the African nations and it might be that Ghana finish ahead of Germany in which case England could be playing Germany in the last 16."


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