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Hodgson 'pleased' with Switzerland reunion

Published: Sunday 23 February 2014, 17.19CET
England manager Roy Hodgson spoke of his delight at being drawn alongside Switzerland, the country he coached between 1992 and 1995, in UEFA EURO 2016 qualifying Group E.

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Published: Sunday 23 February 2014, 17.19CET

Hodgson 'pleased' with Switzerland reunion

England manager Roy Hodgson spoke of his delight at being drawn alongside Switzerland, the country he coached between 1992 and 1995, in UEFA EURO 2016 qualifying Group E.

Roy Hodgson, England manager
I'm pleased. Switzerland are tough opponents because they are higher than us [sixth, as opposed to 15th] in the FIFA rankings at the moment. They've had a wonderful [World Cup] qualifying campaign, but Switzerland, for me, is always a bit special and I've got to say I really enjoy the thought of going back and playing there and meeting so many old friends. So I was pleased when we got them.

For the fans it's fantastic. We have so many fans who follow us and often they've had to take on some very difficult journeys in recent years. On this occasion we're going to places where the transport hub makes it easy to get to. Very, very attractive places to visit, places like Vilnius and Tallinn, real beauty spots.

At Fulham we played Vėtra to get into the [2009/10] Europa League and that was in Vilnius. I've been there – it's fantastic place. San Marino are a proper football team. They understand they can't compete at the highest level, but they try to play properly.

Vladimir Petković, incoming Switzerland coach
It's an interesting group for the players, managers and fans and we stand a chance. We have a young team and won't be afraid of anyone. We want to qualify directly for France 2016 and know that we have the quality to beat our opponents.

Estonia and Lithuania are teams with a Russian background and have lots of talented youngsters. They aren't easy to play against because there is always an element of uncertainty when going up against them. That means we will have to look intensively to find information about them.

San Marino are also a bit of an unknown [quantity], but we will prepare for these games in the best possible fashion and certainly can't afford to underestimate them. Slovenia played well in the World Cup qualifiers and gathered a lot of experience. We witnessed how much they have progressed under manager [Srečko] Katanec in the final World Cup qualifying match in Bern.

England are the clear favourites, but Switzerland have proven that they can prevail against them. It's obviously going to be a highlight to play at Wembley.

Srečko Katanec, Slovenia coach
I can be satisfied, if you can say that after any draw. When Michel Platini came to me after the draw and asked me about my feelings, I said that I'm pleased with the group. There are no long, exhaustive trips that players don't love. I'm aware of the strength of all our opponents, while the Baltic sides have sprung some surprises in the recent past. It's a bit easier for Slovenia to play against England as opposed to the Netherlands, Portugal or Spain because their characteristics are known. We may lose heavily to them, they are the undisputed favourites, but certain elements of their game are easier to play against than teams with more flair.

Magnus Pehrsson, Estonia coach
England are the special opponents – they are the favourites. They will bring more interest to our group and will make it more attractive for all the other teams. I wanted to have one really strong team among our opponents – England or Germany, for example. If we prepare well we can be competitive against all the other sides. Estonian football has been developing from day to day and we will do our best to be even stronger than before.

Igoris Pankratjevas, Lithuania coach
I can't say I'm unhappy with the draw, even if you still have to prove everything on the pitch. It will be interesting to meet some new opponents such as England and Switzerland. It has also been a long time since we played Slovenia. Matches with Estonia will be a matter of principle. They are a side that has improved a lot recently. San Marino are a team we've previously found difficult to beat away from home.

Pierangelo Manzaroli, San Marino coach
Any group stage is always a difficult task for us, but to be in with England adds a lot of value because they're a big football nation and it's a great pleasure for us to play teams like that. The group is pretty even because with the new format the third-placed team can qualify, but that also makes things more difficult for us because every match will be very tough until the very end. We'll try to be at the top of our game, but we know it's hard for us to get points.

Last updated: 15/04/14 9.42CET

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