A nightmare draw is on the cards for England as we await the World Cup 2014 group draw on December 6.
As the Three Lions failed to qualify for Pot 1, by missing out on the top eight places in the official rankings back in October, they risk being drawn against the most feared international teams in the world.
A mixture of different qualities from this year's contingent could face England when the competition kicks off in June, and sitting in the fourth pot will add to the anxiety of discovering who Roy Hodgson's team will come up against.
The best of which, from Pot 1, feature the likes of Germany, Brazil (the hosts), and Spain, who have won the last three consecutive major international trophies, and it's almost certain that England will eventually come up against one of these teams, whether it be in the group stage, or later in the competition, should they advance past the first round.
It'll be there, however, where England could face a number of talented sides, even from the other unseeded pots. The USA and Mexico, from the Americas and Australasia section are ones to be avoided, while AFCON winners, Nigeria, Ivory Coast and Ghana could make the group stage even more difficult.
To make matters worse, France, the lowest ranked qualifying side from Europe and therefore in Pot 3, could be drawn in the same group, which would probably be the worst possible outcome for England, and create another 'Group of Death'.
In contrast, Roy Hodgson surely wouldn't complain if England were to be drawn against Switzerland, who miraculously were seeded in Pot 1, and ideally, they could face Algeria, Iran or Honduras, to complete the dream group.
Furthermore, England will indefinitely avoid fellow European teams in their pot, such as 2010 finalists, Holland, 2006 winners, Italy, and Cristiano Ronaldo's Portugal, so it's not all bad after all.
Although, in recent World Cups, so called 'easy' groups have seen England struggle to get past the first stage. In 2010, the USA, Algeria and Slovenia almost embarrassed them in South Africa, as the United States finished above England, who scraped through in second place.
As history goes, a tougher group could benefit England, who in 2012's European Championships thrived against France, Ukraine and Sweden, showing how an early test not only eliminates more difficult opponents, but proves to have a positive impact on the squad.
Saying this, as a nation who hasn't seen the trophy, of course since 1966, we'd all rather prefer to see an 'easy' draw be announced in five days' time.
But as we all know, the best team will overcome the greatest of opponents, and England will have to do that next summer if they really want a chance of winning the 2014 World Cup.
Best possible group: Switzerland, England, Algeria, Iran
Worst possible group: Spain, England, USA, France
Who will England want to avoid next summer? Comment below!
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