2013-12-07 11:01 PM
LONDON (AP) -- By slowly running a finger across his throat in mock fear, the head of English football appeared to sum up his nation's gloomy view of England chances at next year's World Cup in Brazil.
England was thrown into one of the toughest of the eight pools in Friday's draw after being pitched with 2010 semifinalist Uruguay, four-time winner Italy and Costa Rica in Group D.
Football Association chairman Greg Dyke, who attended the draw and sat alongside England manager Roy Hodgson as the balls were pulled out of the pots, was caught on camera making a throat-slitting action. That reaction that was harshly criticized by the country's national media, although many newspapers seemed to share his sense of doom.
The Daily Mail lambasted Dyke as "The World Cup Chump" on its back page Saturday, while The Sun called the situation "Dykabolical."
The Sun, however, also had a picture of Rio de Janeiro's Christ the Redeemer statue on its front page with the headline "Lord help us!"
The Daily Mirror also had Dyke on its front page with the headline "He thinks it's all over!"
The Daily Telegraph was among many newspapers who called it a "Group of Death," a phrase commonly used in major tournaments to signal the hardest group.
"If that is what the group is being named, you'd think it's our presence in it that contributes to that," said Hodgson, who tried to retain some optimism. "People are not going to be rubbing their hands with joy because they've got to play England."
"I can't deny that it's not the group we would have plucked out for ourselves," he added. "(Uruguay striker Luis) Suarez and (Italy striker Mario) Balotelli are an enormous threat. But we've also got a big threat. . We don't want to get too hung up on opponents."
England fans took to Twitter bemoaning their country's luck -- including Geoff Hurst, who pulled out England's ball in the draw in Costa do Sauipe.
Hurst, whose status as a national icon was secured after scoring a hat trick in England's World Cup final victory in 1966, tweeted: "I hope they let me back in the country!"
England's group-stage mileage has been calculated at more than 4,500 and it involves a trip to the heat of the Amazon jungle -- something Hodgson was keen to avoid -- to play Italy in Manaus in their opening match on June 14.