Newspaper article Manchester Evening News

It's Not the End of the World ; Hodgson Puts on Brave Face after Tough Draw, Writes Mike Keegan

Newspaper article Manchester Evening News

It's Not the End of the World ; Hodgson Puts on Brave Face after Tough Draw, Writes Mike Keegan

Article excerpt

ROY Hodgson will be hoping D does not stand for death after England were handed a double blow at the World Cup draw.

Not only will the Three Lions line up against heavyweights Uruguay, and Italy as well as Costa Rica, they will also kick off their campaign in the sweltering Amazon rainforest. Temperatures regularly hit a stifling 90C and humidity levels reach an energy- sapping 99 per cent.

Hodgson put on a brave face but admitted the draw could have been kinder.

"It is difficult," he admitted. "There is no doubt with Uruguay and Italy we have almost got two number one seeds in our group.

"You are always hoping. But to be frank there weren't many scenarios where I would have been jumping for joy."

FA chairman Greg Dyke was a little less optimistic - appearing to make a cut throat gesture in the audience.

The reality is that Group D will present a seriously tough nut to crack in Brazil.

Despite needing a play-off to qualify, Uruguay are ranked sixth in the world and have a rich finals pedigree - landing the tournament twice and reaching the semi-finals last time out in South Africa.

And they boast a deadly strike duo of in-form Liverpool striker Luis Suarez and Pounds 54m former City target Edson Cavani.

Hodgson will not need reminding that Italy, drawn from the special pot, inflicted his first defeat as England manager, knocking his side out of last year's Euros on penalties.

Ex-City striker Mario Balotelli will no doubt be hoping to put another one over on old pal Joe Hart when they meet in Manaus.

But if the weather was not enough to contend with, Hodgson is set for a blistering reception in the city after revealing it as the one place he wanted to avoid - prompting a furious response from its mayor, who said he would prefer it if his team did not come.

"Italy were very unlucky not to be seeded in the first eight," said Hodgson. …

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