VIDEO Hurst: England should reach semi-finals
The Three Lions have only got that far twice – in 1990 when Bobby Robson's men lost on penalties and in 1966 when Hurst went on to score a hat-trick in the final.
But the former West Ham striker says expectations are high around the country – and in the squad.
“I would be very disappointed – and I’m sure the nation and the players themselves would be very disappointed – if they didn’t at least reach the semi-finals," said Hurst.
Speaking at the launch of the Evo-Stik League sponsorship, he revealed that he has been impressed by the effect the Italian manager has had on the side since Steve McClaren's failed attempt to take England to the 2008 European Championships.
“I’m very encouraged by the team and the result and the discipline that they are showing," he said.
"I'm encouraged by the respect being shown to the management. I think we are better prepared for this World Cup than we have been for some time.”
The Three Lions kick off their campaign against the USA on June 12 in Rustenburg.