Security headache as England face Turkey in Euro 2004

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The Independent Online

England were handed a diplomatic and security headache as they paired with Turkey in the draw for the Euro 2004 championships today.

England were handed a diplomatic and security headache as they paired with Turkey in the draw for the Euro 2004 championships today.

While Scotland, who are expected to announce German Berti Vogts as their new coach, were intriguingly paired with his homeland, England could have few complaints on a purely footballing basis about their draw.

Having been placed among the 10 second–seeded teams, they avoided the most worrying potential opponents, such as France, Italy and Spain.

Their other opponents in Group Seven are all trips into the unknown, with England never having previously played Slovakia, Macedonia or Liechtenstein.

However, when Turkey's name was pulled out by Portugal's most famous footballing legend, Eusebio, painful memories were revived of past clashes between rival supporters.

The worst of these occurred in Istanbul when two Leeds supporters were stabbed just before the club's UEFA Cup tie against Galatasaray in 2000.

With tensions at a peak, there were further clashes between rival fans before Arsenal's UEFA Cup final against Galatasaray in Copenhagen and then at the Euro 2000 finals when they came across each other in Brussels.

Football Association chiefs will make strenuous efforts to ensure there are no further outbreaks of trouble when the two sides meet home and away in these group stages.

However, in every other concern, Eriksson can be reasonably pleased with the draw that England have received.

As for Scotland, there was a gasp in the auditorium in Oporto when the name of Germany was pulled out, just as there was when England faced Rudi Voeller's side in qualifying for the 2002 World Cup.

With Vogts expected to be appointed as Craig Brown's successor, he would immediately confront his native country in a group which also contains Iceland, Lithuania and the Faroe Islands.

The Republic of Ireland, meanwhile, who were one of the 10 top seeds, avoided not only England and Scotland but also Holland.

Mick McCarthy's side were instead placed in Group Ten along with Russia, Switzerland, Georgia and Albania.

Wales, meanwhile, who were among the fourth seeds, found themselves in Group Nine along with Italy, Yugoslavia, Finland, Azerbaijan,

And Northern Ireland, the first home nation to be drawn, were in Group Six along with Spain, Ukraine, Greece and Armenia.

Results in qualifying for the 2002 World Cup and the Euro 2000 finals formed the basis for the seeding system, meaning that England, who were 17th out of 50, paid the price of their poor points tally in needing a play–off to make it to Euro 2000.

With Portugal qualifying as hosts, the other 50 nations were into five groups of 10 seeds, with one from each level being drawn together and the teams then facing each other home and away between September 2002 and November 2003.

Only the group winners qualify automatically, with the 10 runners–up having to play–off in a two–legged tie for the remaining five final places.

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