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Eriksson: Hodgson only safe because he's English

England will make an early exit from the World Cup after losing their opening two games against Italy and Uruguay, but Hodgson has been backed by the country's Football Association to stay on as manager.

Eriksson was relieved of his duties in 2006 after failing to take England beyond the quarter-finals in three consecutive major tournaments.

And the 66-year-old Swede believes Hodgson would pay the price for England's failure to progress beyond the group stage if he was not an Englishman.

He told The Sunday Telegraph: "I know for sure, if that had been me, I would have been sacked at once.

"If he were foreign, he would be sacked. I’m quite sure about that."

Eriksson revealed that he would jump at the chance to take over as England boss for a second time, but the Guangzhou R&F coach knows that is unrealistic.

He added: "I would come back at once, of course. But that will not happen."

While Eriksson had to deal with high expectations during his England tenure, Hodgson's side were not deemed to be among the contenders to become world champions in Brazil.

But former Lazio coach Eriksson is baffled as to why England's failure has come as no surprise to so many.

"I don't know why the expectations are so low today," he said. "The expectations in the three tournaments I had the team, was the final or semi-final - no other discussions. And when we reached the quarter-final, that was not good enough.

"Today, it seems to be very, very good if you would do this. I don't think things have changed, realistically. England has still a very, very good team.

"It's not that the rest of the world is far, far ahead of England. It's not like that."