Belfast Telegraph

World Cup 2014 draw: England set to play Uruguay, Italy and Costa Rica in 'group of death'

The draw for the World Cup puts England in Group D

by simon rice

England have been drawn against Uruguay, Italy and Costa Rica in the group stages of next summer's World Cup.

It will be seen as a tough draw for Roy Hodgson's side considering some of the other possible groups they could have been placed into, with bookmakers extending their odds from 25/1 to 40/1 immediately after the draw.

They will open their campaign against Italy, the side that knocked them out of Euro 2012 on penalties at the quarter-final stage.

Next up will be Uruguay - a team that includes Luis Suarez and Edinson Cavani among their threats.

The final game will be against Costa Rica, whose best known player in England is Fulham's Bryan Ruiz.

The match against Italy will be played in Manaus on Saturday, June 14. They must then head to Sao Paulo and Belo Horizonte for their meetings with Uruguay and Costa Rica on June 19 and 24 respectively.

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.

The one crumb of comfort is that England face a European side in such a remote and unusual location, 1,777 miles from where they intend to stay.

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 United States in one of the biggest World Cup shocks of all time in 1950.

Should England escape Group D, they will play either Colombia, Greece, Ivory Coast or Japan in the Last 16 phase.

Today's draw in Brazil means that the hosts will open the World Cup against Croatia. They're joined in Group A by Mexico and Cameroon.

The World Cup finalists from 2010, Spain and Netherlands, will meet in Group B. They are joined by Chile and Australia.

If results go as expected, it would appear likely that Brazil will meet either Spain or Netherlands at the Last 16 stage.

Everyone wanted to land Switzerland from among the seeded teams, and it was Ecuador, France and Honduras who will take them on in Group A.

Group G looks particularly tough, with Germany, Portugal, Ghana and the USA grouped together.

Group A: Brazil, Croatia, Mexico, Cameroon

Group B: Spain, Netherlands, Chile, Australia

Group C: Colombia, Greece, Ivory Coast, Japan

Group D: Uruguay, Costa Rica, England, Italy

Group E: Switzerland, Ecuador, France, Honduras

Group F: Argentina, Bosnia-Hercegovina, Iran, Nigeria

Group G: Germany, Portugal, Ghana, USA

Group H: Belgium, Algeria, Russia, South Korea

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