Euro 2012: Roy Hodgson worried by weight of England expectation

By Phil McNultyBBC Sport Chief football writer in Donetsk

Roy Hodgson admits his England team "feel the weight of history" as they start their Euro 2012 campaign against France in Donetsk on Monday.

The France game is Hodgson's first competitive match after two friendlies since succeeding Fabio Capello.

"We have not won as many tournaments as we should have done. We all feel that weight," he said.

"There is nothing we can do to take that weight from our shoulders, except to embrace Euro 2012 and make certain we are not afraid of it.

"We have to believe in ourselves and the players should go out as they do every week in the Premier League in similarly pressurised situations playing in front of 50, 60, 70,000 fans with quite a lot of expectation and weight on their shoulders."

Despite having only 40 days to prepare England to confront Laurent Blanc's side, Hodgson was in cautiously optimistic mood as he faced the world's media in Ukraine.

"I'm happy with what we've achieved in these first 39 days," he said. "I don't think the players could have worked harder for me in the training sessions to become a team.

"You could say we haven't had as long as we would have liked to put the team together but, on the other hand, these lads have played with each other on many other occasions.

"I'm not convinced if we had had more time we would have been better prepared."

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