England were drawn in Group D of the World Cup 2014 in Brazil in what is sure to be dubbed ‘The Group of Death’ with an opening game against Italy and games against Uruguay and Costa Rica.
1966 hero Sir Geoff Hurst pulled England out of Pot 4 as the World Cup draw was made in Brazil. Italy was earlier revealed as the wild card unseeded European team who would be placed into Pot 2. It was the first time the Italians had been unseeded at a World Cup finals since 1978 although they did make the final of Euro 2012 where they were thrashed 4-0 by eventual winners Spain.
Much has been made of the group game travel and heat and humidity weather conditions in some of the equatorial venues but Roy Hodgson’s men will have to negotiate a group containing players such as Liverpool’s Luis Suarez and AC Milan’s Mario Balotelli to qualify for the knockout stage.
Manchester City and Belgium captain Vincent Kompany tweeted what most England fans were thinking when he said: “England.. Awww”
England manager Roy Hodgson was positive about the draw.
“With Uruguay and Italy, we almost have two number one seeds in our group.”
“We know how good Italy are because we lost to them in the quarter-finals at the Euros.”
England fans back home will face a 2am kick off against Italy in Manaus on the 14th of June. The only game in the tournament with such a late kick off time although kick-off time is said to be subject to change due to television transmission demands.
Manaus is the furthest north of the host cities in Brazil, a remote location in the Amazon with a tropical climate and a 40% chance of thunderstorms in June allied to temperatures that can reach 30 degrees celcius and humidity approaching 80%.