No teams for England to fear in World Cup draw – Roger Hunt
England World Cup winner Roger Hunt insists the Three Lions have no reason to fear the top seeds in Brazil next summer.
England fans across the country will be crossing their fingers on Friday afternoon when the World Cup draw is made in Salvador, Brazil.
Unlike the last World Cup, England are not seeded, so they will have to face one of the top teams in pot one.
Although that pot surprisingly includes World Cup minnows Switzerland, it also contains the likes of Brazil, Argentina, Germany and Spain.
Hunt, who played in England's last World Cup triumph 46 years ago, believes Roy Hodgson's team can take heart from their recent displays against Brazil, and he does not see any reason to fear some of the other big boys either.
"I don't think England have too much to fear in the draw," said Hunt, who was speaking in his role as a Football Pools ambassador.
"We can't influence which pot we are meant to be in, we just have to perform on the pitch next June.
"Brazil are favourites, they are on home soil and know how to win a World Cup. But remember England drew with them (in Rio de Janeiro in June). and whilst they are technically sound they aren't the force that they have been in previous World Cups.
"We must take confidence from that result and shouldn't be scared of anybody. I would also be wary of Argentina who can never be ignored, particularly at a World Cup, but then we rise to the big occasion, sometimes playing better against the best teams."
Roy Hodgson's reign as England manager has had as many highs as it has had lows.
The 2-2 draw in the Maracana in the summer, and the victory over the Brazilians at Wembley in February raised hopes ahead of the World Cup.
But England were below par away from home in their qualifiers and the team was booed off twice in November following the defeats to Chile and Germany.
Yet Hunt sees plenty of reason for optimism ahead of the tournament.
The 75-year-old, who earned 34 England caps, has been excited by the new players Hodgson has handed debuts to in the last four months and feels they have the potential to light up the World Cup.
"Andros Townsend, Adam Lallana, Jay Rodriguez and Rickie Lambert are all great finds," Hunt added.
"Now there is competition for places. Remember when (Michael) Owen and (Wayne) Rooney came through as unknowns?
"The opposition didn't know them, so weren't able to know how to stop them and they burst onto the international scene. So perhaps the stage could be set for one of our young stars to make a big mark on next year's tournament."