England will avoid old rivals Germany in the group stages of Euro 2012 after UEFA confirmed the seedings for next summer's tournament.
England are in the second pot alongside Euro 2008 runners-up Germany, 2006 world champions Italy and Russia, meaning Fabio Capello's men will avoid those teams until the knockout stages.
The Three Lions could be drawn in the same group as Republic of Ireland, who booked their place in their first major championship in a decade on Tuesday.
However, perhaps the most daunting outcome of the draw, which will take place on December 2, would be for England to be drawn alongside reigning world and European champions Spain, Portugal and France.
The Spanish are in the top group of seeds, alongside 2010 World Cup finalists Holland plus co-hosts Poland and Ukraine, who have already been allocated to groups A and D respectively.
A more palatable group for Capello's team might be to be drawn against Poland - with England having already confirmed they will be based in Krakow - Greece and the Czechs.
Ireland are in the fourth group of seeds alongside Denmark, the Czech Republic and France. That means they cannot face the French, who knocked them out in a controversial World Cup qualification play-off two years ago.
The pots have been decided on the countries' UEFA coefficient rankings, except for the co-hosts.
Seedings for Euro 2012
• Pot 1: Spain, Holland, Poland*, Ukraine*.
• Pot 2: Germany, Italy, England, Russia.
• Pot 3: Croatia, Greece, Portugal, Sweden.
• Pot 4: Denmark, France, Czech Republic, Republic of Ireland
* Poland already allocated to Group A, Ukraine already allocated to Group D.