Post World Cup Draw

So, England get to play in the Amazon. I can recommend Rooney and co a fantastic jungle trail just outside Manaus, though possibly not the backpackers' hostel I stayed in.

Then São Paulo. Wow! As Marlene Dietrich said, "Rio is a beauty. But São Paulo, ah... São Paulo is a city." Any England fans planning to travel to Sampa should check out the São Cristovão in Vila Madalena, a bar packed full with football memorabilia, including a Sheffield United pennant in pride of place.

Salvador, capital of Bahia state, home to the Bottletop Foundation's main projects, will host six games, starting with Spain versus The Netherlands, a repeat of the 2010 final; then Switzerland v France, Germany v Portugal, Bosnia-Herzegovina v Iran, a second round match and a quarter final.

We asked three of our writers what they made of the draw:

Alberto Salcedo Ramos (Colombia)

In Colombia the draw was looked upon as a gift from heaven (Colombia were placed with Greece, Ivory Coast and Japan). The triumphalism sparked by learning of our World Cup rivals is very much a reflection of the way we are: emotional, romantic, partisan. We grow bold before what we deem small and shrink before what we deem big, and all this before a ball's even been kicked. Here's hoping the Colombian team, which is in good shape at the moment, doesn't get stage-fright, like in 1994. And here's hoping we're mature enough to take each game as it comes, without any preconceptions of superiority or inferiority.

JP Meneses (Chile)

It's a difficult draw for Chile (in a group with Spain, the Netherlands and Australia), not least because two traditional nemeses lie in wait. Spain are a team we've never beaten and we lost to them at the last World Cup, while Brazil (a potential opponent in the second round) knocked us out of the last two World Cups we qualified for, in South Africa and France.

The hardest rival in the qualifiers was Argentina, and according to the draw we can't meet them until the semi-finals or final, so there's some relief on that front. But Chile's main rival is always Chile itself. If we don't make any silly mistakes, and if our legs don't turn to jelly at the weight of history, this generation of players could go far. The hard part is overcoming self-doubt.

We have to try and win the group. In South Africa, Chile should have beaten Spain, but we threw the game away carelessly. Spain ended up winning the group, and went on to win the tournament. We ended up second and were knocked out by Brazil in the next round. So ideally we finish top of the group and then play Mexico. But obviously, being in a group with Spain and the Netherlands, finishing top would represent something of an historic feat.

Hernán Iglesias Illa (Argentina)

Does it help having such an easy group? (Argentina drew Iran, Nigeria and Bosnia-Herzegovina.) I don't know. On the one hand it seems like it's obviously preferable to play against inexperienced teams. And when we ended up in the Group of Death in 2002, we got knocked out in the first round. But then when we had more manageable groups, in 2006 and 2010, in the next rounds we struggled to find our stride... Argentina's aim has to be to reach the semi-finals, to be among the elite four teams that play right until the last weekend. That's the first part, and it's something we've not managed since 1990. Anything after that is a bonus.

So excitement builds, about the World Cup and about our book. Thanks to all who have pledged so far. We're a third of the way there with a week to go, so please do give us some support if you can.

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