World champions Spain to play France in World Cup

Rio de Janeiro: World champions Spain will play former world champions France in their qualifying campaign to reach the finals in Brazil in 2014 following Saturday`s gala preliminary round draw.

Spain were the last name drawn in the European qualifying group and will also play Belarus, Georgia and Finland.

The Netherlands, who lost last year`s final to Spain in South Africa, will face Turkey, Hungary, Romania, Estonia and Andorra as they bid to return to South America where they lost the 1978 final in Argentina.

A total of 166 teams were involved in the draw for five of six FIFA`s confederations with no draw for the South American zone as their nine teams play in one league. Hosts Brazil have qualified automatically for the first finals they will stage since 1950.

South Africa, who hosted the last World Cup face neighbours Botswana as they attempt to reach the finals again.

Asian champions Japan face Uzbekistan, Syria and North Korea in their section while African champions Egypt should coast through to the next round of their competition after being paired with Guinea, ZImbabwe and either Comoros or Mozambique who play in a preliminary qualifier.

Bureau Report

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