World Cupfinalists Italy and France have been drawn to face each other in next summer’s European Championship finals in Austria and Switzerland.

The group, based on European qualifying, also includes Holland and Romania, and is bound to be dubbed the Group of Death.

Only the top two teams from each group go through to the knock-out stages.

Co-hosts Switzerland will face the Czech Republic in the opening match of the tournament on 7 June in Basle.

And reigning champions Greece will play Sweden, Spain and Russia in Group D.

France coach Raymond Domenech had complained of the seeding system before the draw and he will now have a tough task to get his team through to the quarter-finals.

“We can’t rejoice at being put together, but now the draw’s been made we have to live with it, it’s like that,” said France coach Raymond Domenech.

His Italian counterpart Roberto Donadoni commented: “It wasn’t easy to qualify and now this. I had a feeling it might happen.”

Holland boss Marco Van Basten added: “That really is a hard one. The Romanians posed us so many problems in the qualifiers, and before that we will have Italy and France, but at least we know what we are up against.”

Croatia and three-times winners Germany appear to have a realtively easy draw in Group B, with co-hosts Austria and Poland as company.

But Croatia coach Slaven Bilic said: “I can give you 20 reasons why this is the most difficult group. Here are three: Austria are playing at home, Germany are one of the best teams in the world and Poland are here for the first time which is a good motivation.”

The other hosts Switzerland have to contend with Portugal and Turkey, as well as the Czechs, in Group A.

Full Draw:
Group A
Czech Republic

Group B

Group C

Group D