Group of Death 'perfect for England', says ex-Tottenham boss

Glenn Hoddle believes England have received a favourable draw for the 2014 World Cup.

The Three Lions have been drafted in Group D alongside Uruguay, Italy and Costa Rica in a quartet that features three nations that have lifted the title before.

Roy Hodgson’s charges will open the competition on June 14 against the Italians in Manaus before taking on Uruguay five days later in Sao Paulo and wrapping up the group stage on June 24 with Costa Rica in Belo Horizonte.

England have faced Italy and Uruguay five times before in major tournaments, failing to win on any of these occasions en route to two draws and three losses.

The foursome has already been touted as a ‘Group of Death’ along with Group B, which contains Spain, the Netherlands, Chile and Australia, but Hoddle nonetheless sees an upside to such a draw.

"It's a perfect group for us," the ex-England manager said. "There are easier ones out there but there are tougher, too.

"An easier group would have meant more expectation and more pressure so we needed an edge to a group and possibly being third favourites in it.

"And if we can get through it and beat a couple of good teams, it will stand us in good stead and we can get right into the tournament.

"It's good that we get that one in the jungle out of the way as that being in the middle would have made it difficult, and then we have Costa Rica, a team we should beat, as the card up our sleeve last up."

"We've had a bit of luck and it's about time we had it in a World Cup and I think we can get out of the group - especially if our spine remains fit.”

England drew a markedly weaker group in the 2010 edition of the World Cup in South Africa, competing with the likes of the United States, Algeria and Slovenia, qualifying for the round of 16 with stalemates against the former two and a victory over the latter in the third and final game of the opening stage.

The Three Lions went on to fall 4-1 to Germany at the next hurdle, with Hoddle pointing to top competition this time around in the group stage as a confidence-builder for a deeper run in the tournament.

Hodgson’s men will be motivated in part by the chance for redemption against Italy, who dumped them out of the 2012 European Championship in the quarter-finals on penalties, the shootout highlighted by Andrea Pirlo’s audacious panenka spot-kick to beat Joe Hart.

England last lined up against Uruguay in a 2006 friendly, winning 2-1 on a late strike from Joe Cole, whilst they’ve never before faced Costa Rica.

image: © geetarchurchy

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