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Hoddle: Tough group can boost England

Glenn Hoddle believes England will benefit from their tough 2014 FIFA World Cup group, which includes Uruguay, Italy and Costa Rica.

Roy Hodgson’s side will kick off their campaign against Italy in Manaus on June 14, before taking on Uruguay and Costa Rica in Sao Paulo and Belo Horizonte respectively.

Although the likes of Luis Suarez, Edinson Cavani and Mario Balotelli lie in wait in the group stage, former England manager Hoddle feels his countrymen can benefit from facing high-quality sides early on.

The former England international, who managed his nation at the 1998 World Cup, also feels England will be happy to take on fellow European nation Italy in the humid climate of Manaus.

“I think we need that edge to the group. This is a tough one,” Hoddle told Sky Sports.

“Get that difficult one (Italy) out of the way, then Costa Rica is the last one and we’ve got to say we should beat them.

“The first one – they’ve got the time to prepare for it. There are a lot of positives behind the group.

“One of the biggest tactics in this World Cup is going to be rest. Recovery and rest between games is going to be so important, especially for European teams.”

Chris Waddle, who was part of England’s squads in the 1986 and 1990 competitions, believes England will have their work cut out to qualify given the strength of Italy and Uruguay.

“It’s very, very difficult when you play Uruguay with the strikeforce they have. Italy I admire; they always have a game plan and as we saw at the Euros (2012 European Championship) they’re strong,” Waddle told the BBC.

“That group is tough to get out of, I have to say. The likes of (Steven) Gerrard, (Wayne) Rooney and (Ashley) Cole are the ones who have to perform at their best just to get (England) out of the group.

“We’re not the best side in the world, but (Hodgson) organises them and there’s a good spirit. We find it hard to slow the game down and keep the ball for a period of time.

“It will be a big test on the legs. You play every three or four days; I want to see us counter-attacking against the better sides.”

Fri 6 December, 2013
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