Having drawn Uruguay and Italy in their group for the 2014 World Cup in Brazil on Friday, many people believe England's chances of progress are very low.
However, drawing a difficult group and the low expectation that follows may have its hidden benefits. It presents Roy Hodgson with a unique opportunity no other England manager has been afforded.
The national team manager can now use next year's World Cup as a "transitional" tournament to give some exciting youngsters their first taste of World Cup football.
Here are some youngsters that should be on the plane to Brazil:
Everton's attacking midfielder has been one of the players of the season so far. At times, he makes the wrong decisions but the potential the youngster possesses should get him a spot. His fearless ability to run with the ball and create chances is what has been missing in England's cagey midfield for the past few years. A breath of fresh air for the national side.
Having made his international debut last month, Southampton's captain is another exciting midfielder not afraid of running at defences. At the age of 25, Lallana has the youthful arrogance that means he is willing to take chances but possesses the experience to lead others and not make foolish decisions. He also chips in with the odd goal, now and then.
On paper he has three world-class left backs in front of him for his place in the England team; in the shape of Cole, Baines and Gibbs. But pipped by many to become an England stalwart in the future, we see no evidence based on performance of why Shaw should not be included in the squad. One of the best left backs in the Premier League and still only 18 years old.
As long as there is the right mixture of experience and youth, this could be an exciting tournament for England.