Top coaches distracted ahead of Euro draw

WARSAW - The coaches of England, Russia and Germany could all be forgiven for having other things on their minds when they come to the Polish capital for the qualifying round draw of Euro 2012 on Sunday.

England's Italian coach Fabio Capello is dealing with a widespread newspaper allegations about the private life of his captain John Terry.

Russia's Dutch coach Guus Hiddink is considering his future with his contract due to expire in June while Germany's Joachim Loew and the DFB (German FA) have hit a stalemate in negotiations over the extension to his contract after the World Cup finals later this year.

Of the three, Capello and Loew are most likely still to be leading their teams out when the qualifying competition for Euro 2012 - jointly hosted by Poland and Ukraine - starts in September.

Russia, who narrowly failed to make the World Cup finals when they lost in a play-off to Slovenia, are amongst the top seeds, along with European champions and world ranked number one Spain, Germany, Netherlands, Italy, England, Portugal, France and Croatia.

The second pot contains Euro 2004 champions Greece, along with fellow World Cup finalists Slovakia, Serbia, Denmark and Switzerland. Czech Republic, Turkey, Romania and Sweden, who all failed to reach South Africa, complete the set.

FOCUS ATTENTION

The draw starts at 1100am GMT on Sunday at Warsaw's Palace of Culture and Science and will focus attention on the first major football tournament to be staged in eastern Europe, and one whose preparations have been beset by problems since it was awarded by UEFA to the two nations in March 2007.

Problems with stadium construction, infrastructure, communications and accommodation caused UEFA president Michel Platini at one point to warn the hosts they risked losing the right to stage the event, which is due to take place in June and July 2012 in four cities in each country.

Adam Olkowicz, director of the Euro 2012 told Warsaw's Futbol News this week: "This is the biggest official ceremony ahead of the tournament itself.

"From the government side the Prime Minister Donald Tusk already confirmed he will take part in the draw, we expect other representatives of the government and the parliament."

With Poland and Ukraine qualifying automatically as co-hosts, 51 of UEFA's 53 member associations will take part in the qualifiers. They will be divided into six groups of six teams and three groups of five teams.

The qualifiers will run from September of this year until November 2011 with the winners of the nine groups and the best runner-up qualifying directly.

The eight remaining runners-up will meet in playoffs in November next year with the four winners joining the other 12 nations in the finals.