I must admit to feeling enormous excitement at the World Cup draw last Friday evening. I know I favour the rugby union code of football but I do love soccer’s main event – possibly more than any other sporting occasion. Well, on Friday it was simply a few balls being selected and countries being allocated groups and locations but this viewer was thrilled and was heard to ululate loudly, ‘Not Portugal! Not Portugal!’ when it was time to select a non-seeded European side to face England. As things stand, one must be contented with the draw; U.S.A., Algeria and Slovenia will prove determined but limited opposition and the nation of my birth should progress with ease. I can’t wait. If time allows, I’ll be watching as many games as possible. The side I picked to win the World Cup at the time of the last European Championships, Russia, aren’t even attending so I am a hapless pundit. It is wide open, isn’t it? However, I fancy the Italians, a heady mix of the pragmatic and pulchritudinous, to come good again and possibly retain the fabled trophy.