Hodgson's men are being given little chance of going deep in Brazil, having been drawn in a tough Group D alongside Uruguay, Italy and Costa Rica.
The former West Brom, Liverpool and Fulham manager said his team were going to the tournament to win it.
"I'm not ruling out winning it. It would be foolish to go there thinking we can’t win it or we’re only there to make up the numbers," Hodgson said.
"Of course we’ll go there thinking of winning it, believing it and working hard to do that.
"But the truth comes when you cross that white line and have 90 minutes to win a game. That’s when the truth comes out.
"Can we play well enough? We have the hope, dream and ambition.
"But to do well, we have to play well, play better than the opponents, for all the players to live up to their reputations. They deserve those big reputations.
"It’s up to them to live up to them and up to us as a coaching team to ensure they’re capable of doing that."
Hodgson confirmed Chelsea midfielder Frank Lampard would be deputy to England captain Steven Gerrard.
"Frank is vice-captain. He’s been the vice-captain all along in Steven’s absences and he has stepped up quite brilliantly," Hodgson said.
"I’ve always thought that he was going to be a key member of this 23 because of his experience and what he brings to the team apart from pure footballing ability. He brings a lot of other things to us in terms of his leadership qualities and characteristics."
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