England land Italy in WC opener

England will face Italy in Manaus in their World Cup 2014 opener before taking on Uruguay and Costa Rica in Group D.

Last Updated: 06/12/13 at 18:41 Post Comment    Bet with SkyBet  World Cup 2014 Winner. Click here to bet.

Roy Hodgson: At the 2014 World Cup draw in Salvador

Roy Hodgson: At the 2014 World Cup draw in Salvador

Roy Hodgson and his Three Lions squad were handed a tough draw in Salvador in Brazil on Friday, with a trip to the sweltering Amazon region first up on June 14 (kick-off 2am UK time on Sunday, 15 June).

Following that clash with the Azzurri, England must take on top seeds Uruguay, featuring Liverpool star Luis Suarez, in Sao Paulo on Thursday, 19 June (8pm UK time) before ending their group-stage challenge against Costa Rica in Belo Horizonte on Tuesday, June 24 (5pm UK time).

Hosts Brazil will face Croatia in the opening game of the tournament in Sao Paulo on Thursday, June 12.

And in a replay of the 2010 final, Spain face the Netherlands in a Group B clash in Salvador the next day.

Other stand-out games include Lionel Messi's Argentina against debutants Bosnia in a Group F opener in Rio de Janeiro on Sunday, June 15; a clash between heavyweights Germany and Portugal in Salvador the following day; and another Group G encounter involving Germany in Recife on Friday, June 20, when Jurgen Klinsmann's United States will provide the opposition.

Italy were the European team drawn at random to join Pot Two ahead of the main group-stage draw.

FIFA decided in advance of Friday's ceremony that one of the nine unseeded European teams for the finals would be put into the pot containing the unseeded South American and African countries.

That meant Italy were guaranteed to face a seeded South American side - and were promptly placed with Uruguay in Group D, with Costa Rica and then England joining them.

Hodgson has already confirmed England will base themselves in Rio de Janeiro for the tournament.

Unless he decides to relocate - as he previously suggested was an outside possibility should circumstances dictate - England face a lot of travelling.

Manaus is a five-and-a-half hour flight from Rio and is located in the Amazonian rainforest, with 99% humidity.

The one crumb of comfort is that England face a European side in such a remote and unusual location, 1,777 miles from where they intend to stay.

Sao Paolo and Belo Horizonte are much more accessible from Rio. It is just over 200 miles to Sao Paolo and less than 300 to Belo Horizonte.

However, that place has unhappy memories for England as the venue where they lost to the United States in one of the biggest World Cup shocks of all time in 1950.

Group A: Brazil, Croatia, Mexico, Cameroon

Group B: Spain, Netherlands, Chile, Australia

Group C: Colombia, Greece, Ivory Coast, Japan

Group D: Uruguay, Costa Rica, England, Italy

Group E: Switzerland, Ecuador, France, Honduras

Group F: Argentina, Bosnia-Herzegovina, Iran, Nigeria

Group G: Germany, Portugal, Ghana, United States

Group H: Belgium, Algeria, Russia, Korea Republic

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