Germany, England in face-off

PUBLISHED : Wednesday, 08 December, 1999, 12:00am
UPDATED : Wednesday, 08 December, 1999, 12:00am

Former soccer world champions Germany and England ended up with a tough road to the 2002 World Cup finals yesterday when they were drawn to play each other in the qualifying competition.

Germany, World Cup winners in 1954, 1974 and 1990, was the last team to be drawn in a ceremony at Tokyo's International Forum. It was placed in European Group Nine with England, which beat Germany in the 1966 final.

The pairing drew gasps from the audience but smiles from former German captain Franz Beckenbauer. The two nations are also rivals to stage the 2006 World Cup.

Greece, Finland and Albania will also play in the group, from which only the winners qualify automatically for the finals - in Japan and South Korea - with the runners-up entering the play-offs.

Hong Kong team officials reacted cautiously after the SAR was drawn with Qatar, Malaysia and Palestine in Group Three of the Asian qualifiers.

'If we put the effort in and prepare for it properly, we have a chance. It's not beyond us,' Hong Kong team director Peter Leung Shou-chi said.