England have been handed a very difficult group for the up and coming World Cup Final’s in Brazil next summer, as Roy Hodgson’s men are already under intense pressure, despite the final’s not kicking off until early June.
England were based in pot C to begin with, therefore they would have had to have faced a fellow European nation anyway, with Hodgson’s men desperate to avoid the likes of Spain, France or Germany, aswell as the host nation Brazil.
England had two uninspiring performances to contend with, as the Three Lions lost both home friendlies to Chile, and historic rival’s Germany.
In the end, England paired with 2006 World Cup winners Italy, South American giants Uruguay, and Costa Rica, with both Italy and Uruguay vying to reach the knock out stages in next summer’s grand showpiece.
England will kick off their pursuit to win an first World Cup trophy for 48 years in the Amazon rain forest, with a 2AM start against the Italy, as Cesar Prandelli will look to mastermind an Italian victory.
Italy, who won the 2006 showpiece in Germany, knocked England out at the European Championships on penalties last summer, as Italy will be the group favourites, boasting veteran’s such as Juventus trio Gianluigi Buffon, maveric midfielder Andrea Pirlo, and midfielder Claudio Marcisio. Italy can also call upon AC Milan, and former Manchester City hot head Mario Balotelli, and his club team mate, and rising talent Stephen El Shaarawy.
England’s following fixture takes place against South American side Uruguay, who also looked strong in a successful qualification campaign, with in form Liverpool striker Luis Suarez, who is playing superbly at the current time, along with Paris Saint Germain’s powerful centre forward Edinson Cavani, both of whome can hurt England massively. Ageing centre forward Diego Forlan can still provide a real goal scoring threat.
The final game will be against Costa Rica, whose best known player in the Barclay’s Premier League is Fulham centre forward Bryan Ruiz, can also call upon Everton man Brian Oviedo, who scored a superb winner against Manchester United on Wednesday evening.
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.
We are in a very tough group sadly…..
By Ben Reardon