Leading article: Island rivals

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The Independent Online

It is to be the cross of St George versus the Welsh Dragon once again. Fresh from the fierce encounter at Twickenham on Saturday in the Six Nations rugby tournament, England and Wales were drawn yesterday in the same qualifying group for the 2012 European football championships hosted by Poland and Ukraine.

It is, of course, the oldest national struggle of these islands. Before the English began tussling with the Scots or the Irish, it was the Welsh they went head to head with.

So what, then, is the historical score? One would have to say that the English have the advantage, mainly thanks to the early lead built up by Edward I. But Owain Glyndwr grabbed a consolation goal a few centuries later. And if you factor in the contribution of the Tudors, David Lloyd George and King Arthur for the Welsh cause, then the score sheet begins to look much better for the team west of the Severn. So: all to play for then. And no pressure whatsoever.