Fabio Capello will be hoping England are gifted a favourable group when the Euro 2012 draw takes place in Ukraine's capital, Kiev, at 1700 on Friday.
England are in Pot Two alongside Germany, Italy and Russia, as the 16 nations involved await the outcome of the ceremony.
Although confident they are better placed to improve on their disastrous showing at the 2010 World Cup, Capello has made it clear who he wishes to avoid at next summer's tournament in Poland and the Ukraine.
"I learnt a lot," Capello said of England's nadir in Bloemfontein. "The young players now are good enough. When we went to South Africa the gap between the older players and younger players was too big.
"Now the gap is closer and the younger players are improving a lot. They are playing with important teams at the top and in the Champions League, Europa League. I hope the players have the mental strength to go and win a tournament."
While happy to revel in the obvious strides made by an exciting young generation of English footballers that include Manchester United's Phil Jones, Arsenal's Jack Wilshere and Tottenham Hotspur's Kyle Walker amongst others, Capello believes next summer's tournament will be harder than the World Cup finals. The Italian also revealed a lengthy list of sides he would be eager to avoid given the option.
"Absolutely, this time it will be stronger because if you look at the groups and all the teams, particularly the three European teams who reached the World Cup semi-finals [Spain, Holland and Germany] the technical level is at the top," The Italian tactician told the Daily Telegraph.
"The organisation of the teams is at the top. Some teams who didn't play well at the World Cup will now be back at the top.
"Teams like Portugal, France and Italy will be better. It will be a really tough tournament.
"You need to avoid Spain and Holland.
"You need to also be careful with Ukraine and Poland [the other top seeds as co-hosts], as they can improve a lot with home advantage. It is possible they could be the surprise of the tournament. The fans can make a big difference."
"There is Portugal and France in the third and fourth pot and these are the teams I would prefer to avoid in the group stage."
In addition to naming Spain, Holland, Germany, Portugal, France, Italy, Ukraine and Poland, the courageous Italian admitted he would preferably miss out on having to play the Republic of Ireland as well.
"I spoke with Giovanni Trapattoni and Marco Tardelli after they got through and they were both really happy," continued Capello. "It's a real success for Ireland and for this manager. It is a great thing. The countries are close and also it would be two Italian managers, so I prefer not to be drawn with them."
The ceremony for the draw begins at 1700GMT in Kiev on Friday afternoon.
Seedings for Euro 2012
Pot 1: Spain, Netherlands, Poland*, Ukraine*
Pot 2: Germany, Italy, England, Russia
Pot 3: Croatia, Greece, Portugal, Sweden
Pot 4: Denmark, France, Czech Republic, Republic of Ireland
* As joint hosts, Poland and Ukraine have already been allocated to Groups A and D respectively.
Best Case Scenario for England: Poland, Greece, Czech Republic
Worst Case Scenario for England: Spain, Portugal, France