Finals draw favours England
Brazil to face Portugal as South Africa land France
Last Updated: 05/12/09 9:14am
England have enjoyed a favourable draw for the 2010 World Cup finals in South Africa after being pitted against USA, Algeria and Slovenia in Group C.
Fears of England being drawn in a 'Group of Death' were raised when USA were drawn out of Pot 2, but coach Fabio Capello is likely to be happy to have then seen Algeria and Slovenia come out of Pots 3 and 4 respectively.
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Capello's side will open up their World Cup finals campaign at the Royal Bakofeng Stadium in Rustenburg on Saturday 12th June, with USA the opponents.
The only previous occasion the two countries have met at the World Cup was back in 1950 in Brazil when England were famously beaten 1-0 by USA.
England's second match of the tournament will be against Algeria, who secured their place at the finals with a controversial play-off win over North African rivals Egypt.
That match will take place on Friday 18th June in Cape Town, with England having never previously played Algeria in an international fixture.
Capello's men will round off their group campaign on Wednesday 23rd June in Port Elizabeth against Slovenia, who beat Russia in the play-offs.
England tackled Slovenia in a friendly at Wembley back in September, with Frank Lampard and Jermain Defoe scoring the goals in a 2-1 success.
The opening match of the tournament on Friday 11th June will see hosts South Africa take on Mexico at Soccer City in Johannesburg in Group A.
France, controversial conquerors of Republic of Ireland in the play-offs, are also in Group A, alongside Uruguay, with the two teams having also met at this stage in 2002.
Perhaps the toughest group on paper is Group G, which pits five-time winners Brazil against Portugal, Ivory Coast and North Korea.
Holders Italy are in Group F and Marcello Lippi's side will tackle Paraguay, New Zealand and Slovakia in the first round.
European champions Spain are in Group H and will come up against Switzerland, Honduras and Chile, while Germany will be favourites to progress from Group D after drawing Australia, Serbia and Ghana.
Holland, who boasted a 100 per cent record during qualifying, are in Group E and will meet Denmark, Japan and Cameroon.