England manager Roy Hodgson says he will be "devastated" if the Three Lions fail to qualify for the 2014 World Cup, but believes his side is in a good position to do so.
Hodgson's squad gained a taste of what next summer could offer during a 2-2 draw with Brazil at the newly-refurbished Maracana on June 2, but doubts over recent below-par results have clouded the former Fulham manager's reign.
Following an August friendly against Scotland, England face Moldova, Ukraine, Montenegro and Poland in their next four qualifying games, with a 100 percent points return guaranteeing progression to the tournament proper.
"We will be devastated if we don't get there," Hodgson told reporters. "My appetite for next summer didn't need whetting on Sunday. When I was lucky enough to be given this job the focus from the first moment has been on Brazil 2014.
"We've got four matches to do it and the good thing is we know we are hard to beat, with a good shape to our team both defensively and offensively.
"In our good moments we actually pass the ball quite well and do some good things going forward.
"We are going to build on that and I don't think the result and the performance in Brazil will have done the players' confidence any harm."
But Hodgson was quick to downplay the importance of friendly matches, and has urged critics to look beyond the result and focus more on the performance of the players and squad as a whole.
"I think as a coach and manager who has been in football a long time it's more of a straight line than that. We've got to make sure we don't get carried away and we analyse things," the England boss added.
"Sometimes after a disappointing result you actually see a decent performance. And sometimes you can get a great result but realize if we continue like this performance-wise we are going to be up the creek without a paddle.
"But I'm lucky enough to have a group of players who don't think in those terms. It's been a good year and I only hope the start of next season will be positive too."
- Sports & Recreation