World cup: D does not mean death

World cup: D does not mean death
England manager Roy Hodgson watches his team before the start of their 2014 World Cup qualifying soccer match against Poland at Wembley Stadium in London October 15, 2013.

SINGAPORE- Roy Hodgson is still putting his £10 ($20) on England to win the World Cup, but Football Association chairman Greg Dyke clearly thinks the team have no chance of getting out of their "Group of Death".

After 45 minutes of dancing, hyperbole and tributes to Nelson Mandela, a host of former World Cup stars selected the groups for next year's tournament in Brazil yesterday morning (Singapore time) - and for England fans, it did not make comfortable viewing.

Italy, Uruguay and Costa Rica will be England's opponents at the World Cup.

Dyke, who wants England to win the 2022 World Cup, slid his index finger across his throat after England were placed in Group D.

He did not say a word to either Hodgson or FA general secretary Alex Horne, who were sat either side of him, but he did not need to.

The message from the gesture was clear - England are doomed.

Italy have won the World Cup four times and, little over 12 months ago, they knocked England out of Euro 2012.

Costa Rica may be World Cup minnows, but two-time champions Uruguay have Edinson Cavani and Luis Suarez.

It is not only the calibre of opposition that will trouble England next summer.

They will have to play their opening game in Manaus - the sweaty jungle city where humidity levels exceed 80 per cent. Officials from the Italian and Costa Rican delegations described it as "the Group of Death".

That phrase is wheeled out at almost every draw, but in this instance, it seems very apt for England.

Still, Hodgson does not believe that D stands for death.

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