England manager Roy Hodgson has insisted he is not surprised by the tough group his side have been given following the 2014 World Cup draw, writes BBC
Hodgson’s Three Lions have been drawn in Group D for next summer’s competition, facing Italy in the first match, followed by matches against Uruguay and Costa Rica.
But Hodgson showed composure when speaking after the draw was made, saying: “It’s a tough group, there’s no doubt about that. In Italy and Uruguay it’s almost as though we have got two number one seeds in our group.
“We know how good Italy are because we lost to them in the quarter-finals at the Euros. The game is going to be tough from a climate point of view for both teams. We’re both in the same boat.”
The former Liverpool manager continued: “There were not going to be many scenarios where we were going to be jumping for joy. It [the draw] doesn’t surprise us. I suppose one positive is that we have only got one long trip then the other two are in the same neck of the woods.”
England’s Group D test is one of the hardest in the competition, but Hodgson remains confident despite England’s first match being played in the early hours of the morning GMT and in Fahrenheit temperatures of around 99.
The opening match against Italy will be played at 02:00 GMT in the Amazonian city of Manaus on 15 June, before games against Uruguay four days later and Costa Rica on the 24 June.
England supporters can expect to see players facing England such as Liverpool star Luis Suarez, former Man City striker Mario Balotelli and Fiorentina star Giuseppe Rossi.
Brazil, the hosts, share Group A with Cameroon, Mexico and Croatia.