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England open World Cup 2014 against Italy

ESPN staff
December 6, 2013
Group D: Brutal draw for England

England will face Italy in their opening game of the 2014 World Cup after being drawn in Group D alongside Uruguay and Costa Rica.

Roy Hodgson's side will contest the only fixture of the whole tournament which kicks off at 02:00 BST when they play Italy - the team that dumped them out of Euro 2012 - in Manaus on June 15. Manaus is in the heart of the Amazon jungle and is considered among the most physically taxing venues for players, especially those from more moderate climates.

England have never beaten Italy or Uruguay at a World Cup finals, and have yet to play Costa Rica at a tournament.

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Sir Geoff Hurst, who famously scored a hat-trick in England's only World Cup final victory in 1966, pulled Hodgson's side out of the pot - before taking to Twitter to make light of the situation.

They then travel to Sao Paulo on June 19 to take on Uruguay (20:00 BST) before completing their group campaign against Costa Rica in Belo Horizonte on June 24 (17:00 BST).

As a result of them being drawn into a "tough" group, England's odds to lift the World Cup have now drifted slightly, with some markets offering 28/1 for the Three Lions to lift the trophy come July 13.

Hosts Brazil will play Croatia in the opening game of the tournament on June 12, having also been drawn in Group A with Cameroon and Mexico.

Champions Spain and the Netherlands will contest a repeat of the heated 2010 final in Group B, with Chile and Australia being drawn alongside the two finalists.

Group C is completed of Colombia, Greece, Ivory Coast and Japan, while France were handed arguably the kindest draw in Group E alongside Switzerland, Ecuador and Honduras.

Argentina will face, Bosnia, Iran, Nigeria in Group F but Group G will prove a difficult one to call with Germany, Portugal, Ghana and USA all vying for a spot in the second round.

Belgium, Algeria, Russia and South Korea make up the final four in Group H.

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

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