England manager Roy Hodgson remains upbeat about his side’s chances at the FIFA World Cup despite being drawn with Italy and Uruguay.
Hodgson’s men – competing in their fifth consecutive World Cup finals – have been placed in Group D, and will start their campaign against four-time winners Italy in Manaus in northern Brazil.
The 1966 winners then face two-time champions Uruguay in Sao Paulo, before playing their final group game against relative minnows Costa Rica in Belo Horizonte.
In spite of England’s difficult assignment, Hodgson is hopeful his side can progress through the group stage.
“It’s a tough group; we’ve almost got two number one seeds in our group,” Hodgson said.
“We know how good Italy are having lost to them (at the UEFA European Championship in 2012).
“There were a lot more scenarios where you were thinking this was going to be tough for us. We have a scenario that is tough for us.
“Even Costa Rica – (they) are maybe the least known, but they are tough opponents.
“I’m still positive about the whole affair. If we are well prepared, we have the chance to win all three games. We have three top-quality opponents. I’m sure they will be three exciting games.”
The former Switzerland coach believes that only having one game in the north, where humidity is anticipated to be more of a debilitating factor than in the rest of the country, could be an advantage.
“We could have had three games up in the north,” he added.
“So in some ways we’ve got to regard that as an advantage, but it’s going to be hard to put a positive spin on our opponents.”