England will face old enemy Scotland in qualifying for the 2018 World Cup in Russian Federation after they were paired together in Group F at a lavish draw ceremony in St. Petersburg on Saturday.
Spain, the 2010 champion, is in Group G with Italy, Albania, Israel, Macedonia, and Liechtenstein.
England have been drawn against Scotland in World Cup qualifying Group F. They’re joined in the group by Bulgaria, Belarus and Luxembourg.
Last World Cup appearance and finish: Never qualified.
Proceedings were anchored by the seemingly-obligatory double act of a male television presenter and a supermodel, with the outgoing Federation Internationale de Football Association Secretary General Jerome Valcke orchestrating a World Cup draw for the final time.
For a nation of two million people, Slovenia’s qualification record in the last 20 years is not to be criticised.
Northern Ireland have the unenviable task of facing Germany.
Potential games against Northern Ireland would, most likely, be heated, tense and scrappy affairs, but more favourable to Martin O’Neill’s side than two games against Poland or Sweden.
World Cup winners Germany were pitted against Czech Republic and Northern Ireland in Group C that also features Norway, Azerbaijan and San Marino.
Hodgson also rejected suggestions that England should be regarded as outright favourites to win the group.
Hodgson said: “Regarding my own future, I am fully focused on preparing England for the Euros and – like the players – am determined to make an impact on the tournament”. There’s a lot of football to go in the Euro 2016 qualifiers before this.
A total of 141 of FIFA’s 209 member federations were involved in the draw, including top-ranked team Argentina and joint No. 207-ranked Djibouti and Cook Islands.
England and Scotland have not played a competitive match this century, having last met in a play-off for the 2000 European Championship, three years after their now legendary match at Euro 96. “I’m looking forward to watching the draw with our fans because I believe they are hugely important to what we are trying to achieve”.
“We have had a good run, and this will be a good group with great games”.
There are seven groups of six teams and two groups of five. In the Euro 2016 qualifers, the story remains the same with six games played and only one point earned.
The optimism this time around was based to a considerable extent on the fact that, even allowing for the world champions coasting home, another team would qualify automatically with a third making it to play-offs.
Despite FIFA’s scandals, Sepp Blatter says the organization remains committed to 2018 World Cup host nation Russian Federation.