Domenech: Facing hosts will not be easy

CAPE TOWN - France coach Raymond Domenech said on Friday that playing against hosts South Africa in next year's World Cup finals would not be easy.

France were drawn in Group A of the 32-nation tournament with South Africa, Mexico and Uruguay. NEWS: France to face hosts South Africa "It's a tough group like the others," he said. "We would have to win at least two games to qualify. It's never easy to play against the host team but it's our third game so by then we could be qualified.

"There are no so-called groups of death this time. The groups are fairly even. There could be some surprises. It's the first World Cup in Africa and that could make a difference. The crowd will be special and that could have an impact."

England manager Fabio Capello, whose team will play the United States, Algeria and Slovenia said: "I think it is one of the most balanced groups. Algeria have beaten Egypt so they are a dangerous side. I remember there have been groups that looked easy but then became really complicated."

World Cup holders Italy will play Paraguay, New Zealand and Slovakia, an apparently easy group.

"The more you concentrate on easy teams the more they become difficult. We've got to prepare and study these teams and their characteristics," Italy coach Marcello Lippi said.

Vicente Del Bosque, coach of European champions Spain, who play Switzerland, Honduras and Chile, said: "We can't complain. We can't hide the fact we are one of the favourites to win (the World Cup)."