Yet where in Brazil in December it was the quality of the opposition confronting England that prompted chairman Greg Dyke to run a finger across his neck, here in the South of France, the calibre of the sides they will meet en route to Euro 2016 will have caused anxiety for very different reasons.
Roy Hodgson greeted the outcome of proceedings in the Palais des Congres Acropolis yesterday with a smile. No wonder.
A nostalgic meeting with Switzerland, whom he led to the World Cup in 1994, begins the campaign on Monday, September 8 and provides a personal high point from a set of fixtures that he knows, deep down, will not overly tax him.
For the FA’s money men, however, watching grim-faced as Slovenia, Estonia, Lithuania and San Marino filled the rest of Group E, the prospect of filling Wembley against sides who neither fire the imagination nor boast a stellar name will be a hard sell.
It is a shame in many respects that there is a contractual obligation for England to play their games at the national stadium because the draw offers a perfect opportunity to take the Three Lions back on the road and kick-start a tour of the country, which was so successful when Wembley was undergoing its £757m refurbishment.
With that avenue closed, though, it will require innovative, out-of-the box thinking to repeatedly draw crowds for games the outcome of which already appear beyond doubt if Hodgson’s side is not to be performing in front of banks of empty seats.
Family orientated ticket pricing will be looked at and prestige friendly matches, in keeping with those the FA lined up for their 150th anniversary celebrations, will be a necessity.
The FA still owe £277m on Wembley, according to the latest figures, and 10-year debentures at the stadium are up for renewal in 2017.
“Most importantly for our business is that we win football matches,” said Adrian Bevington, managing director of Club England. “We want to be in France 2016, so from a football point of view while no-one is suggesting it’s a straight-forward easy draw we have to win the games that are in front of us and treat opponents respectfully in doing so.
“Our sole priority is about qualifying. The rest of the business has to decide how we best fill Wembley.
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We want to get as many fans into Wembley as possible and price it as competitively as possible
“We want to get as many fans into Wembley as possible and price it as competitively as possible.
“We’ve got to price it to make it attractive for families. We will probably increase our family support. And we’ve got to balance this with how we make the friendly matches attractive as well to the fans who come to every game.
“We’ve got a good record of doing that. We want good opponents. We’ve got to sit down with Roy and the commercial department. I’m confident we will still get good crowds at Wembley.”
England did attract almost 85,000 supporters for the 5-0 win over minnows San Marino in qualifying for the World Cup, but sustaining something close to that level for an uninspiring set of fixtures that are unlikely to go down to the wire will prove more difficult.
Still, the importance of high-profile friendly matches – there are dates set aside in September, November, March and June – also goes beyond the need to keep the turnstiles ticking over with the standard of opposition not necessarily going to aid England’s development.
England swept to 5-0 and 8-0 wins over San Marino in their most recent meetings, beat Estonia 3-0 home and away during the failed bid to reach Euro 2008 and took four points out of six against the Swiss in qualifying for the World Cup in 2010.
While in South Africa, a Jermaine Defoe goal saw them beat Slovenia in Port Elizabeth. They have never played Lithuania before.
“I think the places we’ll travel to are exciting but maybe I know them a bit better,” said Hodgson, who might be slightly concerned that England will visit Slovenia on June 14, 2015, long after the domestic season has finished.
“I was pleased (with Switzerland). I don’t know about a frisson, but there’s always a certain amount of nostalgia, especially for with me with Switzerland, they were four fantastic years and I enjoy a certain reputation in the country.
“So, it was quite nice to get them.”
Qualification has been expanded and will result in 24 teams competing in the finals with Uefa also introducing a “week of football” which will see international double headers matches played on permutations of Thursday-Sunday, Friday-Monday or Saturday-Tuesday.
Wales found themselves pitted with Bosnia-Herzegovina, Belgium, Israel, Cyprus and Andorra and Northern Ireland with Greece, Hungary, Romania, Finland and the Faroe Islands.
One of the more intriguing groups saw Scotland and Republic of Ireland paired together with heavyweights Germany, Poland, Georgia and new members Gibraltar.
“There are some groups you might call mundane but we’re definitely in an exciting group that should excite everybody,” said coach Gordon Strachan.
The FA can only wish they could say the same.