France, Senegal to kick off
2002 World Cup
World Cup favourites Argentina were drawn on Saturday in what is bound to be dubbed the "group of death" with arch-rivals England, as well as Nigeria and Sweden, at next year's finals in South Korea and Japan.
The first ever finals in Asia have thrown up a classic with Argentina meeting England in group F in a continuation of their series of dramatic World Cup encounters.
Nigeria, generally rated as the strongest of the African challengers, and Sweden complete the group.
Holders France, joint favourites for the title with Argentina, play the opening match of the tournament on May 31 in Seoul against Senegal, appearing in the finals for the first time. Uruguay and Denmark complete group A.
China, also making their debut in the finals and expecting to bring up to 100,000 fans to South Korea, play in group C with four-times winners Brazil and also with Turkey and Costa Rica.
The two host nations both have chances of progressing into the second round. The South Koreans are seeded in group D where they play Poland, Portugal and the United States.
Japan play in group H with Belgium, Russia and Tunisia.
The top two teams from the eight groups of four go into the second round where the knockout phase of the competition starts.
The final will be played in Yokohama, Japan on June 30.
Germany, three times winners, have a relatively easy looking group E with Saudi Arabia, Ireland and Cameroon while Italy will probably not complain about meeting Ecuador, Croatia and Mexico in group G.
Spain are seeded in group B to play Slovenia, Paraguay and South Africa.
But the focus will inevitably be on group F which looks by far the strongest.
Argentina and England will play each other in their second match in group F in Sapporo, Japan, on June 7, resuming where they left off from one of the most thrilling matches of the last finals in France four years ago.
Then the South Americans won on penalties in the second round after England midfielder, and now captain, David Beckham was sent off.
It was the third sensational encounter between the two countries in World Cup finals. England beat Argentina 1-0 in the quarter-finals in 1966 on their way to winning the trophy at home. It was a bad-tempered contest in which the South Americans' captain Antonio Rattin was sent off.
In Mexico in 1986 Argentina beat England 2-1 at the same stage of the competition on their way to winning the title, this time thanks to two goals from Diego Maradona, one of them a clear handball, forever dubbed the "Hand of God", the other one of the greatest goals ever scored in the finals.
In another interesting quirk of the draw, England's Swedish coach Sven Goran Eriksson will find himself up against his native country.
Eriksson said: "We are in the most difficult group. No doubt about that."
The draw for the FIFA 2002 World Cup finals.
Republic of Ireland