2014 Fifa World Cup final draw: Roy Hodgson on tough draw

England manager Roy Hodgson says his players face a tough task to advance past the group stage of the 2014 Fifa World Cup finals in Brazil.

Uruguay, Italy and Costa Rica are England's opponents in Group D.

"With Uruguay and Italy, we almost have two number one seeds in our group," Hodgson told BBC Sport.

"It does not surprise me at all to get a tough draw. But I am still very positive about the whole affair, as you never know."

Pundits react to World Cup draw

England are 13th in Fifa's rankings, with Uruguay sixth, Italy seventh and Costa Rica 31st.

Hodgson's side, who are based in Rio de Janeiro for the duration of the tournament, begin their campaign against Italy in the Amazonian city of Manaus on 14 June, then play Uruguay in Sao Paulo on 19 June and Costa Rica in Belo Horizonte on 24 June.

Copa America champions Uruguay reached the World Cup semi-finals in 2010 while Italy knocked Hodgson's men out of Euro 2012 at the quarter-final stage.

In their opener against Italy, England will also have deal with the tropical heat of Manaus which, in the heart of the Amazon jungle, is 1,777 miles away from their chosen base.

World Cup weather

But Hodgson admits he would rather face a fellow European side in the hot, humid and Amazonian conditions.

"To be frank there weren't many scenarios where you'd have been jumping for joy - there were a lot more scenarios where you were thinking 'this is going to be very tough for us'," added Hodgson.

"The conditions in the north will be tough, so we [England and Italy] will both be in same boat."

England's World Cup fixtures

14 June: Italy in Manaus

19 June: Uruguay in Sao Paulo

24 June: Costa Rica in Belo Horizonte

Hodgson is pleased to see that games with Uruguay and Costa Rica will be staged a little nearer in Sao Paulo and Belo Horizonte respectively.

"Our great advantage will be being based in Rio, as we will only have one long trip," he said.

"If we'd had three games up in the north, it would have been difficult."

On his side's chances, Hodgson said: "The only prediction I'm going to make is that there will be three cracking games.

"There will be plenty of speculation [about how England will do]. I will get on trying to prepare the team."

Italy qualified for Brazil with an identical record to England's - six wins and four draws - in a group containing Denmark and Czech Republic.

"Roy [Hodgson] has to go to Manaus, a place he was hoping to avoid. The crucial second game is against Uruguay. That's going to be tough but there will be some ageing limbs in that Uruguay side. It could be a cautious game."

They overcame England in the only previous meeting between the two countries at a World Cup finals, earning a 2-1 victory in the third-place play-off in Bari in 1990.

"It will be very tough indeed for all of us," Italy manager Cesare Prandelli said. "It does not matter that we beat England in the Euros last year.

"This is different, everything will be different, the heat will be different, but that is the World Cup.

"It means that one former world champion will go out and my job is to make sure it is not Italy. We're going to have to sweat it out."

England's last meeting with Uruguay was at the 1966 finals before going on to win their first and only World Cup.

Full 2014 World Cup draw

Group A: Brazil, Croatia, Mexico, Cameroon.

Group B: Spain, Netherlands, Chile, Australia.

Group C: Colombia, Greece, Ivory Coast, Japan.

Group D: Uruguay, Costa Rica, England, Italy.

Group E : Switzerland, Ecuador, France, Honduras.

Group F: Argentina, Bosnia-Hercegovina, Iran, Nigeria.

Group G: Germany, Portugal, Ghana, USA.

Group H: Belgium, Algeria, Russia, South Korea.