Article

Hodgson happy with Swiss reunion

23 February 2014 14:36

Roy Hodgson expressed satisfaction with England's UEFA Euro 2016 qualifying draw and is particularly happy to be facing Switzerland.

Hodgson enjoyed a successful spell in charge of the Swiss national side between 1992 and 1995, leading the team to third in the FIFA world rankings and qualification for the 1994 World Cup and 1996 European Championships.

He is now set to come up against his former team, after England and Switzerland were drawn together in Group E along with Slovenia, Estonia, Lithuania and San Marino.

Reflecting on a favourable draw, Hodgson told Sky Sports: "I'm very satisfied - in particular for the fans. We've had some quite tough trips to get to in recent years but there's some good places to visit.

"The name Switzerland always brings a smile to my face as they were fantastic years (he spent in charge). It's a good team but it's also a good place to go and play.

"I'm sure the fans will enjoy Vilnius (Lithuania's capital city). San Marino are a proper football team; they understand they can't play at the highest level but they try and play proper football. They don't play anti-football and try and block you. It's why they do concede goals because they open up and try to play."

Hodgson did express concern over UEFA's new 'Week of Football' format, which will see qualifiers spread out over six-day periods, with teams playing double-headers on Thursday and Sunday, Friday and Monday or Saturday and Tuesday.

"The thing I'm most concerned about is Thursday, Sunday," he explained. "In our preparation we have to deal with matches on Sunday, which means we don't have the players to do any work with them before Tuesday.

"So if we play Thursday there's not much time. I'm not too concerned by Friday, Tuesday, that remains the best solution. But (games on) Thursday (and) Sunday would mean we get very little preparation."

Switzerland, currently led by Ottmar Hitzfeld, will be coached by Vladimir Petkovic by the time their qualifying campaign begins.

The incoming coach said of Group E: "It’s an interesting group for the players, managers and fans and I think we stand a chance. We have a young team and won't be afraid of anyone."

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