World Cup 2014: England drawn against awsome Uruguayan team, Italy, and Costa Rica
England have been drawn against Uruguay, Italy, and Costa Rica in Group D for next summer’s World Cup.
Roy Hodgson’s men will open their campaign in Manaus when they face Italy on Saturday, June 14. It is just the start the England manager did not want having spoken about his concerns at playing in the Amazon where conditions will severely test his players.
England must then head to Sao Paulo and Belo Horizonte for their meetings with Uruguay and Costa Rica on June 19 and 24 respectively.
England avoided becoming the European team placed in a special pot, who had to be drawn against a South American top seed. However they ended up in the same group as Italy, who came out of the special pot, which meant the draw could hardly have been more difficult.
It means Hodgson’s team must face the side that knocked England out of Euro 2012 in Kiev, before coming face-to-face with a Uruguay team containing Luis Suarez and PSG star forward Edinson Cavani.
Even the group minnows, Costa Rica, will not be beaten easily given the central American country have shock potential, as they proved by beating Scotland at the 1990 tournament.
If the opponents themselves were not tough enough, the travelling involved and the tropical conditions at one of the venues makes it even harder. 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 rain forest, with 99% humidity.
And it is even bad news for England fans back home – the opening match against Italy will kick off at 0200 (BST) on Sunday, June 15.
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 Elsewhere, World champions Spain will face Holland, the side they beat in the 2010 final, in the group stage. Spain’s first game will be against the Dutch in a tough-looking Group B along with Chile and Australia – though perhaps not as difficult as Group G where Germany are up against Portugal, Ghana and the United States.
Hosts Brazil will play Croatia in the opening match of the World Cup in Sao Paulo while Mexico and Cameroon are the other sides in Group A.United States in one of the biggest World Cup shocks of all time in 1950.