World Cup 2014: Now England are (officially) out, what can we expect from their rivals in Euro 2016 qualifying?
Roy Hodgson can begin to turn his attention to the Euro 2016 qualifiers, which begin in September, and we look ahead at what we can expect from their opponents
Another tournament, another disappointment for England. The signs were encouraging, but ultimately, Roy Hodgson's men failed to make the sort of impact that was required of them.
They may have showed a certain determination and hunger in the 2-1 defeat to Italy, and the team were rightly commended for their brave performance. But there are only so many positives that can be taken from a defeat.
And when it really mattered, the team didn't perform. A draw against Uruguay would have been sufficient for them to qualify, needing a victory over Costa Rica in the final game based on other results. However, Luis Suarez's brace sent Hodgson's men crashing out of the tournament, confirming they had lost their first two games of the World Cup for the first time since 1958.
After their final game against Costa Rica on Tuesday, England will begin to look ahead to the next tournament and move ahead with a squad filled with promising players. The likes of Luke Shaw, Ross Barkley and Raheem Sterling will unquestionably play a bigger part in helping England qualify for Euro 2016.
But who stands in their way?
Here, we take a look at the teams who will be looking to finish ahead of England in qualifying.
World ranking: 6
Key player: Xherdan Shaqiri
Ottmar Hitzfield's men pose the biggest threat to England's hopes of automatic qualification from their group in Euro 2016. The Swiss are a side England know well, having faced them in the qualifying stage for Euro 2012. They lost 3-1 and drew 2-2, but they have made a significant improvement in the past two years. With the likes of Granit Xhaka, Haris Seferovic and Ricardo Rodriguez, as well as key man Xherdan Shaqiri of Bayern Munich, Switzerland have an excellent core of promising young players emerging, and are certainly capable of taking points off England when they meet on September 8.
World ranking: 25
Key player: Tim Matavz
A World Cup opponent in 2010, Slovenia made life difficult for Fabio Capello's men then when they drew 1-1, and now 25th in the world rankings, they could cause an upset in Group E should England fail to impress under Roy Hodgson. With prolific striker Tim Matavz up front, and flamboyant playmaker Josip Ilicic of Fiorentina there to create chances for him, it will up to England's defence to stop the supply. They face England in November at Wembley, before the return leg at home in June 2015. Slovenia have lost all three of their last internationals, however, so it is unlikely they will stop the rot any time soon.
World ranking: 106
Key player: Marius Stankevicius
One of the lower-ranked sides in the European qualifying, Lithuania have won just two of their last 11 international games - winning 2-0 over Liechtenstein and Latvia respectively. But both games were at home, and they suffered a 4-1 defeat at the hands of Albania in World Cup qualifying. With their only standout player captain Marius Stankevicius - the former Lazio and Sampdoria defender now at Gaiziantepspor - they lack a genuine threat to England and Switzerland in qualifying for Euro 2016 and England will be expected to win both games comfortably.
World ranking: 98
Key player: Ragnar Klavan
For a side ranked so low in the FIFA rankings, Estonia did exceptionally well to finish above the likes of the Republic of Ireland, Serbia and Slovenia in the Euro 2012 qualifying. However, a more difficult World Cup qualifying group saw them finish with just seven points, and only above minnows Andorra. But don't be fooled by their fall of grace; this Estonia side kept Ireland at bay before and when organised by captain Ragnar Klavan, a seasoned international with 95 caps, they can easily steal a vital point at home in Tallinn.
World ranking: 207
Key player: Andy Selva
Joint-last in the FIFA rankings, San Marino have only ever won once - a 1-0 victory over Lietchtenstein in 2004. The goalscorer, Andy Selva, is their top scorer in their history with just eight goals in 65 caps. The part-timers faced England in the World Cup qualifying groups, with England scoring 13 goals in the two games, and a similar beating would be expected when the two teams meet again.
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