England face Hodgson’s former side Switzerland in Euro 2016 qualifiers
England manager Roy Hodgson must tackle Switzerland, the side he steered to the knockout stages of the 1994 World Cup, in qualifying Group E for Euro 2016.
The Three Lions are odds-on at 1/2 to win their pool and book an automatic place in France in two years’ time. Qualification gets underway in September.
“Switzerland always brings a smile to my face,” said Hodgson, “because I had four fantastic years with them. I’m very satisfied [with the group], particularly for the fans.”
England are joint-sixth with Belgium to win the tournament outright at 12/1. Eastern European trio Estonia, Lithuania and Slovenia join minnows San Marino in completing qualification opposition for the 1996 hosts.
Switzerland, who will be coached by former Lazio boss Vladimir Petkovic when Ottmar Hitzfeld steps down after the World Cup this summer, are 2/1 second-favourites to win the group behind England.
As the European Championship is being expanded to include 24 nations, the top two from each qualifying pool will join hosts France at the finals automatically.
The best third-placed team from all nine groups will also secure a definite spot, with the other eight competing in play-offs for the four remaining places.
Scotland and the Republic of Ireland will meet one another and British overseas territory Gibraltar, recognised as a full UEFA member for the first time here, in a tough-looking Group D. Germany are odds-on favourites at 2/9 to win that pool and 7/2 to be crowned European champions in 2016.
Georgia and Poland (7/1 to finish top) complete this formidable group. Coral offer odds of 10/1 and 12/1 on Martin O’Neill and Gordon Strachan winning their pool respectively.
Reigning double European champions Spain (1/10 to top their qualifying group and 4/1 to win a third successive title) have an easy task to secure passage to the finals on paper. Group C also contains Ukraine, Slovakia, Macedonia, Luxembourg and Belarus.
Wales have been drawn alongside Belgium and Bosnia. Chris Coleman’s side are 12/1 to win their pool (Group B), which also sees them up against Andorra, Cyprus and Israel.
Northern Ireland, who are 20/1 shots to top Group F, meet Euro 2004 winners Greece, Hungary, Romania, Finland and the Faroe Islands.
Holland (2/5 to win their pool and 10/1 chances to be the next European champions) have the Czech Republic and Turkey as their main competition. Group A also has Iceland, Kazakhstan and Latvia in it.
Beaten Euro 2012 finalists Italy are 1/3 to qualify ahead of Malta, Norway, Azerbaijan, Bulgaria and Croatia. Portugal, 8/15 chances to top their pool, do battle with Denmark, Serbia, Albania and Armenia.
Hodgson’s England predecessor Fabio Capello sees his Russia team drawn with Sweden, Montenegro, Moldova, Lichtenstein and Austria. The 2018 World Cup hosts are 8/15 to qualify top and 22/1 to win the tournament in France.