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EURO hopefuls to meet in Montreux

Friday's UEFA EURO 2008™ qualifying draw heralds the true start of the countdown to the eagerly awaited tournament in Austria and Switzerland.

Greece defeated the hosts Portugal to win the final in 2004
Greece defeated the hosts Portugal to win the final in 2004 ©AFP

Fitting setting
Fifty countries are involved in the draw, with Austria and Switzerland qualifying automatically as co-hosts of the final round. The draw venue of Montreux – a popular resort on Lake Geneva – is a fitting setting for the ceremony. "We thought Montreux would be the ideal place for whetting your appetites for EURO 2008, not only because of its mild climate and beautiful landscape but also because it is steeped in history," said Swiss Football Association president Ralph M Zloczower, who is also chairman of the Euro 2008 SA board of administration.

300 journalists
Around 300 journalists from 40 nations are due to attend the draw. No fewer than 62 television channels – including ORF, Swiss TV, RAI, ZDF, Eurosport, NOS, RTR Sport Russia and TVE – will be retransmitting the broadcast produced by UEFA in partnership with Swiss television (SRG SSR). The draw will be seen not only in Europe but also in China, Fiji, the Middle East, Thailand, Macau and Malaysia, to name just a selection of the global audience.

Herzog and Chapuisat
Jacques Deschenaux, a popular Swiss TV presenter, will be the master of ceremonies at the Congress Centre in Montreux. Under the supervision of UEFA Chief Executive Lars-Christer Olsson, the draw to settle the fate of the competing teams will be conducted by the two host association presidents, Ralph Zloczower and his Austrian Football Association colleague Friedrich Stickler, together with Andreas Herzog, who holds the record number of caps for Austria, and Stéphane Chapuisat, the former Swiss international.

700 guests
About 700 guests are expected at the Montreux Congress Centre, a list topped by Austrian interior minister Liese Prokop and Swiss federal councillor Samuel Schmid. Traditionally an event of this profile is a meeting point for Europe's national-team coaches, such as Luis Aragonés (Spain), Oleh Blokhin (Ukraine), Karel Brückner (Czech Republic), Raymond Domenech (France), Sven-Göran Eriksson (England), Roy Hodgson (Finland), Jürgen Klinsmann (Germany), Zlatko Kranjčar (Croatia), Jakob Kuhn (Switzerland), Lars Lagerbäck (Sweden), Otto Rehhagel (Greece), Luiz Felipe Scolari (Portugal) and Marco van Basten (Netherlands).

16 minutes
The draw will begin at approximately 12.15CET and take about 16 minutes. Details of the procedure can be found by clicking here.