England keen to avoid pairing with home nations

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The Euro 2008 draw takes place in Switzerland today, with the intriguing possibility of all four home nations being picked in the same qualifying group. Because each is seeded differently, all or some of England, Scotland, Wales and Northern Ireland may play one another to qualify for the finals in two years' time.

Sven Goran Eriksson will attend the draw in Montreux. But whoever England have to overcome, it will, of course, no longer be his problem by the time the first qualifier in September comes around. England are in the top tier of seven seeds for the draw. But there are strong sides among the second seeds too - including Italy, Germany and Spain.

The winners and runners-up of the seven qualifying groups will go through to the European Championship finals, to be hosted jointly by Switzerland and Austria in two years' time.

Scotland are seeded in the fourth tier of teams, Wales in the fifth and Northern Ireland in the sixth.

The Republic of Ireland are among the fourth seeds, meaning they cannot be drawn in the same group as Scotland - but their new director of football Sir Bobby Robson, who is assisting the novice manager Steve Staunton, could end up opposed to England.

The seedings for each country have been based on their qualifying records for Euro 2004 and this summer's World Cup.

Hosts Switzerland and Austria qualify automatically for the 16-team finals. The remaining 50 teams will be split into six groups of seven and one of eight, with the winners and runners-up qualifying.

A new trophy has been created for the 2008 tournament, 18 centimetres higher and two kilograms heavier than the famous trophy first presented in 1960 and named after Henri Delaunay. The former president of the French FA was given the honour as the driving force in establishing the competition.

Euro 2008: Pools for today's draw

Pool 1: (seeded teams) Greece, Netherlands, Portugal, England, Czech Republic, France, Sweden.

Pool 2: Germany, Croatia, Italy, Turkey, Poland, Spain, Romania.

Pool 3: Serbia-Montenegro, Russia, Denmark, Norway, Bulgaria, Ukraine, Slovakia.

Pool 4: Bosnia-Herzegovina, Republic of Ireland, Belgium, Latvia, Israel, Scotland, Slovenia.

Pool 5: Hungary, Finland, Estonia, Wales, Lithuania, Albania, Iceland.

Pool 6: Georgia, Macedonia, Belarus, Armenia, Northern Ireland, Cyprus, Moldova.

Pool 7: Liechtenstein, Azerbaijan, Andorra, Malta, Faroe Islands, Kazakhstan, Luxembourg, San Marino.

One team from each pool will be drawn today in each of the seven groups (A-G). Pool Seven will also provide the eighth team for Group A

England's best case scenario: England, Romania, Slovakia, Latvia, Lithuania, Cyprus, San Marino.

England's worst case scenario: England, Italy, Serbia-Montenegro, Ireland, Wales, Belarus, Azerbaijan, Kazakhstan.

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