Worried that your lack of knowledge of international football will leave you exposed when conversation turns to the World Cup draw? Fear no more. Our cut-out-and-throwaway guide gives a thoroughly researched journalistic fact about every team, sure to be repeated umpteen times on television from now until the moment ITV show slow motion footage of Romario to the accompaniment of Santana’s Black Magic Woman.
Brazil Samba rhythms nowadays fused with European discipline.
Scotland Not so much talent as in the past, but a great team spirit.
Morocco The heat will suit them.
Norway They’ve all learned a lot from playing in the Premiership.
Italy Have that knack of improving as the competition progresses.
Chile Alex Ferguson had an eye on their centre forward.
Cameroon Natural athleticism undone by naivety.
Austria Now if this was the Winter Olympics they’d be in with a shout.
France Lots of flair, but they just can’t beat the Germans.
South Africa Buoyed up by the optimism of a new nation. Nelson Mandela is their No 1 fan.
Saudi Arabia If they qualify for the next stage they’ll each get a Rolls Royce.
Denmark The Big Fella between the sticks will take some beating.
Spain Always seem to disappoint.
Nigeria In with a real shout if they can get organised – might they regret not taking on Terry Venables?
Paraguay Skilful, cautious yet volatile (ie who knows?)
Bulgaria Peaked four years ago but Stoichkov is always up for it.
Holland One manager off the pitch and eleven managers on it. A lot will depend on the mood in the camp.
Belgium The front two looked useful for PSV against Newcastle.
South Korea Short.
Mexico Dismal record in the finals. The defence is prone to take a siesta at the wrong time.
Germany Big lads, never know when they’re beaten.
Yugoslavia No one questions their ability, it’s their heart there are doubts over.
USA If they do well, football, or soccer as they call it, could finally take off over there.
Iran The game against the US will be their cup final.
Romania A lot of aging legs.
Colombia Tend to blow hot and cold.
England It’s too early to get carried away but hey, eh? Hey!
Tunisia Should have a lot of local support. Their manager is being called the new Desert Fox (only by us).
Argentina Tend to be there or thereabouts come decision time.
Croatia Will want to give the folks back home something to smile about after the civil war.
Japan No strangers to discipline or the work ethic, are they?
Jamaica Wonderful story. Great experience for them. Their fans will have a party whatever happens.
From WSC 132 February 1998. What was happening this month