England have been placed among the top eight seeds for the 2006 World Cup.
Sven-Goran Eriksson's side are in a top pool of hosts Germany, holders Brazil as well as Argentina, France, Italy, Spain and Mexico.
England will now avoid meeting those countries in the group stages when the main draw for the tournament is made in Leipzig on Friday evening.
Under the seeding system used by Fifa, England came out second to Brazil and Italy narrowly beat the US into eighth.
Fifa's ranking co-efficient meant that performances at the 2002 World Cup, when England reached the quarter-finals, were given twice as much weight as at 1998.
They also took into account a country's world ranking over the last three years.
"It's excellent news," England coach Eriksson told the Football Association website.
"I think it's right too. We are one of the teams that have the potential to do very well in Germany and we have some of the best players in the world.
"Finishing top of our qualification group, with the second best record in the whole of Europe, was a big achievement and I'm sure that has played a part in this decision."
Serbia and Montenegro were the lowest placed European qualifier and have been placed in a special pot to stop three countries from the zone being in the same group.
For the draw on Friday, around 3,700 people will be present in the auditorium at the huge trade fair hall in Leipzig's Neue Messe exhibition centre.
It is being transformed into a football stadium for the occasion.
The World Cup finals in Germany begin on 9 June 2006 and the final takes place in Berlin on 9 July.
Trinidad & Tobago
Special pot: Serbia & Montenegro
Friday's draw will work in the following way:
The eight seeded teams will be drawn into eight different groups. Germany have already been allocated Group A and Brazil Group F.
Eight unseeded European sides will be drawn into the eight different groups.
The lowest-ranked European side Serbia and Montenegro will be allocated to one of the groups containing either Brazil, Argentina or Mexico to ensure there is no more than two European sides in any group.
A pot of the five African countries, Australia and the two remaining South American sides drawn into eight different groups.
A pot containing the four Asian countries, the USA, Costa Rica and Trinidad drawn into seven different groups.
The winners of the World Cup final will earn £10.75m as part of a total prize pool of £130m for the tournament.
Fifa announced on Tuesday that the 32 teams taking part will be guaranteed at least £2.6m each in prize money.