England manager Roy Hodgson said where his squad will be playing at next year's World Cup is occupying his mind more than the draw.
Hodgson will find out when and where England's World Cup group matches take place during Friday's draw in Costa do Sauipe, Bahia.
Unseeded England could face hosts Brazil, defending champions Spain or another heavyweight, such as Germany or Argentina, in the group phase.
But rather than worry about their potential opponents, the locales of England's three fixtures are of more concern to the English boss.
"It's a time of course where speculation is rife and people have a lot of fun looking at all the potential possibilities and it could be this group, it could be that group, you could be playing here, you could be playing there," Hodgson said.
"It's a nice game to play but I have to say I haven't really involved myself too much in that. We'll get what we get really.
"The most important thing is to be there - that's the first thing.
"And then, of course, you always hope the draw's going to be kind to you - kind to you in terms of where you're asked to play because there are venues in Brazil which will be tougher to play in than others, maybe in terms of the teams you are drawn against.
"I'm more concerned, I would say, if anything about the venues than I am about the teams we'll draw, because all discussions about teams and their strengths is based really on, not speculation...but we don't know."
In particular, Hodgson was looking to avoid the Arena Amazonia in Manaus, with the average temperature there just under 27 degrees Celsius.
"The venues worry me more than the opponents," Hodgson said.
"I think there's definitely going to be climatic conditions which will be problematic for teams but not least the northern European sides.
"The tropical nature of Manaus is the problem.
"I'm not an expert on the venue but I'm just mouthing what everybody has been saying to me.
"Manaus is the place ideally to avoid and Porto Alegre is the place ideally to get.
"Manaus will be a difficult venue for everyone, including the Argentinians, Chileans and Colombians, but for northern European players it will be a little bit harder.
"You have a better chance if you get one of the venues where the climate is kinder."
Hodgson was unperturbed by his side's recent friendly losses to Chile and Germany, explaining the matches represented a chance to be flexible.
"The whole point of those games really was to make certain that we used those two matches to experiment as much as we possibly could, and make certain that we gave players the chance to show what they can do.
"During the qualification, a lot of the players didn't get that opportunity.
"I was more anxious to make certain that I aired the full squad of the players and gave everyone the chance to play, rather than say pick a team that would necessarily be the best team to win the game.
"I was very disappointed, of course, to lose the two games.
"It's always hard to lose, especially when you are at home and especially when you are England but, really, the proof of the pudding is going to be in the qualification matches and then the actual tournament matches."1 comment