JOHANNESBURG - World champions Italy were drawn with Brazil in the same group for next year's Confederation Cup but European champions Spain were handed much softer options for the two-week event in South Africa. Italy and Brazil will play each other in the final match of Group B of the World Cup test event in June. African champions Egypt and the United States are the other two sides in the group. Spain, who won Euro 2008 in June, were drawn in Group A with South Africa, Asian champions Iraq and New Zealand. "It's an interesting draw with a different mixture of styles," said Spain coach Vicente del Bosque. "We will have to be respectful of the quality of the other teams." Egypt coach Hassan Shehata said his side's tough draw would help them qualify for the 2010 World Cup finals in South Africa. "The chance to have our players together for a long time and to play against top teams will help our players immensely. We find that Egyptians traditionally play a lot better after they have been together for a long time," he said. South Africa open the tournament at Ellis Park in Johannesburg against Iraq on June 14. The second game for the hosts is against traditional rugby rivals New Zealand. The two teams last met in a football international 60 years ago. "We are renewing the team and at this point in time we believe we have found about 80 percent of the players for the team. The Confederations Cup will let us see how much we have improved," said South Africa coach Joel Santana. The tournament is being played at four of the 10 World Cup venues - Ellis Park in Johannesburg; Bloemfontein, Pretoria and Rustenburg. The final is at Ellis Park on June 28. The tournament is made up of the six continental champions plus World Cup winners Italy and hosts South Africa. Brazil are defending champions from Germany in 2005.
22 November 2008
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