England were today drawn in Group D for next summer's World Cup against Italy, Uruguay and Costa Rica.
It was a nightmare draw for the Three Lions, with bookmakers immediately lengthening their odds on a first triumph since 1966.
England manager Roy Hodgson admitted it wasn't an ideal draw for his side.
"It is difficult," he told the BBC.
"There is no doubt with Uruguay and Italy we have almost got two number one seeds in our group.
"Italy were very unlucky not to be seeded in the first eight. Of course we know how good they are because we lost to them on penalties in the quarter-finals of the European Championships.
"The good thing is that we know each other and the other thing in our favour is that the game we have got in the north, where the conditions are going to be tough climatically, is against another European team so we are both going to be in the same boat."
Hodgson admitted he was not surprised to be given a tough section and, confirming England will stay in Rio, said the travelling could have been far worse.
"You are always hoping. But to be frank there weren't many scenarios where I would have been jumping for joy," he said.
"There were many when I would be thinking this is going to be very tough for us.
"To get one that is a bit tougher doesn't surprise me at all because there is a lot of travelling to be done in most of the groups.
"Our great advantage is being based in Rio means we only have one long trip."
Hodgson added: "If we had three games in the north it would have been difficult.
"There is no doubt the climate in the north for European teams is going to be tougher. In some ways we have to regard that as an advantage.
"I have never been to the Amazon. It will be a very interesting experience, not just for me but for the team."
However, Hodgson is refusing to believe qualification will be a purely three-way battle between his own side, Italy and Uruguay, who were beaten in the semi-finals in 2010 but needed to beat Jordan in a play-off to claim their place this time around.
"It is going to be quite difficult to put a positive spin on the quality of our opponents, even Costa Rica might be the least known but they are a very strong team," he said.
"I am still very positive about the whole affair.
"You just never know. You don't look at football matches on paper and think we will win this one, draw this one and lose the other.
"On each occasion it is 11 v 11 and if you are well prepared you have a chance.
"Having at least two of the three games in a climate that might be a bit kinder to us is one of the things I was looking for.
"The most important thing is that we are here.
"We are in an interesting group, there is no doubt about that. We have some top quality opponents so the three matches we play will be very exciting. They will attract big audiences all around the world."Reuse content