Manchester United midfielder Michael Carrick is convinced England are in a strong position to qualify for the 2014 World Cup in Brazil, despite their indifferent form in recent matches.
Roy Hodgson's side have drawn three of their last six matches in qualifying Group H and could find themselves five points behind leaders Montenegro by the time they face Moldova in their next World Cup qualifier in September.
First, England face the Republic of Ireland and Brazil in friendlies as part of the FA's 150th anniversary celebrations and Carrick remains upbeat.
"We are quite happy with the situation we are in. It's in our hands," he said.
"If we win the games we need to, we will be okay.
"We feel we are close to being a very, very good team at this level, close to challenging anyone, but it's up to us to prove it now."
Steven Gerrard, Tom Cleverley and Jack Wilshere have all been ruled out of the friendly with Ireland on Wednesday and Sunday's match in Brazil, leaving Carrick with a strong chance of featuring in one or both games.
But he laughs off suggestions his impressive campaign for United have made this a breakthrough season.
"It slightly amuses me when I see or hear people saying different things (about me), as if I have suddenly appeared from nowhere," he added.
"I have maybe played a little bit better than I have done in the past, but I have been happy with my form for a long time really.
"A couple of people say something and it snowballs from there.
"Obviously you have to be doing things right on the pitch, but it is slightly strange how it has come about this season."