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England have 50-50 chance of facing another home nation in Euro 2016 draw

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England face the prospect of being drawn in the same group as Gareth Bale and his Wales team-mates in the Euro 2016 finals due to UEFA's "bizarre" seeding system.

Roy Hodgson's England side are in the pot of top seeds for the draw and have a 50-50 chance of being drawn in the same group as one of Wales, Northern Ireland or the Republic of Ireland - who are all guaranteed to avoid each other as they are in the pot of six bottom seeds.

Wales will be the team in the bottom pot that Hodgson will be most keen to avoid - Chris Coleman's side topped their qualifying group and their recent form has been so good that they were among the top seeds for the 2018 World Cup qualifying draw in the summer.

UEFA uses its own co-efficient for seeding instead of current world rankings and Coleman said it was strange that Wales were now among the bottom seeds.

Coleman, speaking in Paris ahead of the draw, told Press Association Sport: "It is bizarre that we were top seeds for the World Cup draw and bottom seeds for this one. When the seedings came out for this and saw we were in pot four it did seem strange.

"But I am confident with what we have got on our day - we can have a game with anyone. Some of the teams in pots above us will be looking at our form over the last two years and saying they don't want to play us."

The draw will place the 24 finalists into six groups of four teams for next summer's finals. The winners and runners-up in each group will qualify for the knockout phase as well as the four best third-placed sides - meaning that only eight teams will be eliminated in the group phase.

England will avoid the hosts France and holders Spain as well as the other top seeds Belgium, Germany and Portugal. The team to avoid among the second seeds is Italy, with Zlatan Ibrahimovic's Sweden side, the Czech Republic and Poland all daunting prospects in the pot of third seeds.

Hodgson's men famously lost to Italy in their opening match of the 2014 World Cup in Manaus, though they did draw 1-1 in Turin in a friendly in March.

England were also on the receiving end of a 4-2 hiding by Sweden in November 2012, when Ibrahimovic scored all four goals.

The worst draw for England would be Italy, Sweden and Wales, with the easiest-looking one being Austria, Hungary and Albania.

Coleman is keen just to avoid England in the group phase for Wales' first major tournament since the 1958 World Cup.

He added: "It's not because we are afraid of England - we respect them very much but we are not afraid of them. I just think it would be a distraction.

"If you get four points you get out of the group. If we had England and had to play them first then it would be a distraction."

Hodgson has insisted he does not mind if England are drawn against Wales or one of the Irish sides.

He said: "I will take what comes. I respect Wales and both Ireland teams. There is a good chance we will get one of those but it is not something that pleases or displeases me. It is just a fact of life and whoever we get we will do our best to beat them."

The draw takes place on Saturday at Paris' Palais de Congres at 5pm. The finals start on Friday June 10, 2016, with the final taking place at the Stade de France on Sunday, July 10, 2016.

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