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English press revels in World Cup draw

sports Updated: Dec 05, 2009 08:31 IST

Newspapers here gloated Saturday over England's draw for the World Cup, saying it gave them a clear path to the knockout stages and was the "best English group since The Beatles".

Fabio Capello's squad were placed in group C with the United States, Algeria and Slovenia in Friday's draw, with their opening match against the Americans in Rustenburg on June 12.

The Times called it "one of the most favourable draws in England's history", the Daily Express called it an "open passage into the knockout stages", while the Daily Mirror headlined: "The Dream is On!"

"Best English group since The Beatles" was The Sun's verdict. The tabloid added that the first letters of the group C teams -- England, Algeria, Slovenia and the Yanks (United States) -- spelled out Capello's EASY task ahead.

"I think it is probably the easiest of the World Cup groups," Jack Charlton, who played for England when they last won the tournament in 1966, told the paper -- although he noted the United States had knocked England out before.

The United States won the only previous World Cup meeting between the two countries and their 1-0 win in Belo Horizonte, Brazil, in 1950 still ranks as one of the greatest shocks in the history of the tournament.

The Guardian said that although there were some challenges ahead, the draw should mean a "gentle beginning" that could be of "profound benefit" to players still recovering from the Champions League.

Because the task facing England once they got through the group stages was a tough one.

"England's route to Soccer City could be a last 16 encounter against Germany, a quarter-final against France and a semi-final against the mighty Brazilians," said the Daily Mail.

"If they did then conquer Spain in the final, they really could consider themselves the best team in the world."