Pundits delighted with World Cup draw

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The Independent Online

Former England manager Terry Venables admits England will be expected to come through the World Cup group stages with few problems after being handed a favourable draw this evening.

England were drawn in Group C and will kick off their campaign on Saturday, June 12 against the United States in Rustenburg - where they are thought to be holding their training camp.

Their second and third matches will be in Cape Town against Algeria and in Port Elizabeth against Slovenia.

Venables admits the United States will be tough opposition.

"It's a tough game because they will be fit, organised and while they won't outplay us, they could out-sprint us," he said on Sky Sports News.

"It could be a difficult game for us."

Generally, however, Venables believes England should get through the group comfortably.

"Although Algeria did extremely well to get through they are not really on a par with any of those teams," he said.

"We'll be expected to do it and we should do it, so let's be very happy."

Former England captain David Beckham, who could be part of Fabio Capello's squad for South Africa, said: "It is a very interesting group.

"They are all hard games and it's very exciting to be a part of it."

Former England striker Alan Shearer believes the team should be delighted with the draw.

Shearer told the BBC: "We said beforehand I don't think we will be too worried about the USA.

"I think Mr Capello will be sat there in his seat in South Africa and inside will be absolutely delighted.

"I don't think anyone can say anything else with that group.

"USA, Algeria, Solvenia - if you had said that to Fabio this morning I think he would have snapped your hand off and took that, without a doubt."

Venables added: "They are going to say 'there are no easy games' and of course, that is true, but it's a good a draw as we could have expected.

"You could have hand-picked that so we've got to be very satisfied."

Fulham manager Roy Hodgson, who has experience coaching around the globe, was happy with the draw but admitted he was slightly concerned that the top two in England's group will meet the top two in Group D - which contains Germany, Australia, Serbia and Ghana - in the first knockout round.

"It's a fantastic draw," he said. "The only blight on the horizon is the group we're going to be playing against when we qualify, it's going to throw up some very tough games because Germany's group is very tough."

Former England goalkeeper David Seaman welcomed an opening game against the USA.

"I think that could possibly be the hardest game but you've got to be very happy with that draw," he said on Sky Sports News. "That is a big pressure game but with two evening kick-offs to start you can get the points and then you're coasting.

"I'm very happy with that group."

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