ROY HODGSON BELIEVES his England team are in with a chance of becoming the first European side to win a World Cup in South America.
England begin their quest to reach the 2014 World Cup in Brazil on Friday when they take on Moldova in Chisinau.
Hodgson’s side are in a qualifying group which they are widely expected to ease through, with the main threats likely to come from Euro 2012 co-hosts Poland and Ukraine.
Assuming England can overcome those challenges, they can contemplate a trip to South America for the finals.
If they get there, Hodgson is also mindful that of the four previous World Cups staged in South America, the winners have been Uruguay (twice), Brazil and Argentina; a European team is yet to triumph on that continent.
“There’s no doubt playing on your own continent is a major advantage,” Hodgson told the Daily Mail.
“But if you watch the last two victories by Spain, most people would agree the quality of their football would compare with the Brazil teams of the past so maybe the gap is getting smaller.
“People are entitled to an opinion but it doesn’t interest me. I don’t think they actually said we had much chance of winning the World Cup in 1966.”
Hodgson accepts that his side would be considers outsiders for the tournament if they qualified, but he welcomes the underdog tag, saying:
“We won’t be favourites if we qualify but I am not unhappy about that - I’d much rather someone else bears the burden of being favourite to win a World Cup. But if we get there I am pretty certain I will have a very competitive group of players.”