Coach Fabio Capello was relieved to avoid the difficult Group B at Euro 2012 and content with England’s “balanced” Group D draw.
England will face France, Sweden and co-hosts Ukraine following yesterday’s draw in Kiev.
Though they must play all their games in Ukraine, having opted to base themselves in Poland, Capello’s men nevertheless have one of the easier pools on paper.
Spain and Italy will meet in Group C – providing an imposing test for the Republic of Ireland – while Group B will comprise three past champions in Holland, Denmark and Germany as well as 2004 runners-up Portugal.
“I think Group B was the worst, Group A was better,” Capello said, reflecting on co-hosts Poland’s grouping with Greece, Russia and the Czech Republic.
“We have a balanced group, we need to play against Ukraine, one of the hosts of the tournament, and I remember them from when we played them in the qualifiers for the World Cup.”
England will begin their campaign against rivals France, whom they have not beaten in five meetings, in Donetsk on June 11.
And Capello said: “Against France will be a tough game, usually the first game is really difficult.”
Sweden await in Kiev on June 15 before England again travel to Donetsk four days later to tackle Ukraine.
Assessing the tournament as a whole, Capello said: “The favourite always is Spain, they are the best team in world at the moment, difficult to beat, fantastic.
“Holland are also a good team and probably you can find a surprise - Portugal is one and some new teams, maybe one of the teams that host the tournament.”
The Republic, appearing in the championships for the first time since 1988, will open against Croatia in Poznan on June 10.
Yet it is the games against Spain, winners in 2008 and World Cup victors in South Africa last year, and 1968 champions Italy which will most excite their fans.
Giovanni Trapattoni’s men will travel to Gdansk to face Spain on June 14 and return to Poznan to play Italy four days later.