England at risk of Portugal group clash

ENGLAND are in danger of being drawn in the same group as arch-rivals Portugal or big hitters Holland at next summer&rsquo;s World Cup.<br /><br />France&rsquo;s contentious qualification means they will join England as one of eight seeded teams in South Africa, if governing body Fifa uses its normal formula.<br /><br />And that means Portugal and Holland will miss out on a seeding, opening up the possibility that one of them could face Fabio Capello&rsquo;s men at the first hurdle.<br /><br />Portugal knocked England out of both of their last two major tournaments, the 2006 World Cup and the 2004 European Championships. Controversy erupted in 2006 when then-Manchester United winger Cristiano Ronaldo was accused of getting his club colleague Wayne Rooney sent off.<br /><br />Holland, meanwhile, would represent formidable opponents having topped their qualifying group with a 100 per cent record. Under the usual system based on world rankings and recent performances at the tournament, the eight seeds would be England, France, Germany, Brazil, Italy, Spain, Argentina and hosts South Africa.<br /><br />The remaining 24 teams would be drawn at random, with the proviso that no group contains more than two sides from Europe, and no more than one from South America, Africa or Asia.&nbsp; The seeds are expected to be confirmed two days before the&nbsp; draw takes place in Cape Town on 4 December.<br /><strong><br />2010 WORLD CUP </strong>QUALIFIERS<br />Africa: Algeria, Cameroon, Ghana, Ivory Coast, <br />Nigeria, South Africa<br />South America: Argentina, Brazil, Chile, <br />Paraguay, Uruguay<br />Asia: Australia, Japan, North Korea, <br />South Korea<br />Europe: Denmark, England, France, Germany, <br />Greece, Holland, Italy, Portugal,<br />Serbia, Slovakia, Slovenia, Spain, Switzerland<br />North America/Caribbean: Mexico, Honduras, <br />United States<br />Oceania: New Zealand