Wembley

Next Game

England v Lithuania

Friday, 27 March 2015, 19:45

European Qualifiers Group E

Celtic Park

Last Game

Scotland 1 - 3 England

Tuesday, 18 November 2014, 20:00

International Match

Hodgson: Tough draw for us

Boss Roy Hodgson admits that he is struggling to "put a positive spin" on England's draw at the World Cup finals.

Last Updated: 06/12/13 at 21:07 Post Comment

Roy Hodgson: Attended Friday's draw in Salvador

Roy Hodgson: Attended Friday's draw in Salvador

More of the games that matter

Upgrade in minutes or watch with a NOW TV Day Pass.

In Salvador on Friday, England were drawn with Uruguay, Italy and Costa Rica in Group D, with the opening match against the Italians in the one place Hodgson did not want to go - Manaus, in the Amazon.

History is also against them. In major tournaments against Italy, Uruguay and Costa Rica, England have played five games and won none.

Uruguay, who reached the semi-finals in 2010 and will have Luis Suarez leading the attack, and Italy, who knocked Hodgson's team out of Euro 2012, are ranked sixth and seventh in the world rankings while Costa Rica are 31st in the world - 18 places below England.

"It's a tough group, there's no doubt about that," said Hodgson, who was at the draw with FA chairman Greg Dyke, in his initial reaction to Group D. "In Italy and Uruguay, it's almost as though we have got two number-one seeds in our group.

"It is quite difficult to put a positive spin on the quality of our opponents because even Costa Rica, the least known, are a very strong team. Jurgen Klinsmann was warning me how tough they are after playing them in qualifying.

"We know how good Italy are because we lost to them in the quarter-finals at the Euros. That game is going to be tough from a climate point of view for both teams. We're both in the same boat."

That all-European game is England's first in the group, taking place in the Amazonian city of Manaus on Saturday, 14 June (kick-off 2am UK time on Sunday).

The hot, humid venue was the one place Hodgson had said he did not want to play, given that it is a five-and-a-half hour flight away from their intended base in Brazil.

However, he drew some comfort from the fact that Italy are also unlikely to be suited to playing in such conditions and that his team have only one trip to Brazil's north west.

The England manager said: "There were not going to be many scenarios where we were going to be jumping for joy.

"I suppose one positive is that we have only got one long trip then the other two to Sao Paulo and Belo Horizonte are relatively short and in the same neck of the woods.

"I am still very positive about the whole affair, as you never know. You do not win football matches on paper.

"You go out on each occasion 11 v 11. If you are well prepared, you have a chance to win all three games.

"We are there, we have an interesting group with three top-quality opponents. It will be a chance to see the north of Brazil. It will be a very interesting experience."

When England were confirmed as the final team in Group D, Dyke drew his fingers across his throat in a cut-throat gesture.

Wayne Rooney, England's striker and talisman, is apparently unfazed about the task facing the country in the first stage of the finals.

He wrote on his official Facebook page: "If we want to be the best, we have to beat the best. Tough group but really looking forward to it! Roll on Brazil 2014!"

More of the games that matter

Upgrade in minutes or watch with a NOW TV Day Pass.

Related News

Most Commented

Readers' Comments

W

ell that really inspires me with confidence. No point in training, deciding on a coherent formation, or playing players in their best positions, let's just hope we get lucky.

mumbo_jimbo
Van Gaal: Luck is key

I

believe this is because for sepp Christmas is a 7 day feast finishing on the 25th

hiya
Blatter calls for early final

F

alcao really needs to shine now. Apparently according to the stats, he scores more when played up front alone. I wonder if Van Gaal will actually apply a formation to get the best out of him though.

anthracyte
Van Persie lay-off expected

Footer 365

Ronny Deila refuses to think of title after Celtic beat Aberdeen to extend lead

Ronny Deila warned against complacency after Celtic moved six points clear at the top of the Scottish Premiership table.

Wes Brown red card against Manchester United appealed by Sunderland

Sunderland have announced they will appeal against the red card shown to Wes Brown at Manchester United on Saturday.

Glenn Murray hails Alan Pardew as spark of Crystal Palace turnaround

Glenn Murray has paid tribute to Alan Pardew for engineering his rebirth as a Crystal Palace player.

Mail Box

Are Tottenham Right To Redevelop?

It's a really good Friday afternoon Mailbox, with thoughts on Spurs' ground development, the Europa league (leave it alone) and one man running for a very good cause...

Rodgers Is More Of A Paisley Than A Rafa

Most Liverpool fans in the Mailbox are claiming to be pleased to see the back of the Europa League. Plus merging the Europa and Champions League, and winter WC...

© 2015 Sky Ltd. All Rights Reserved A Sky Sports Digital Media company