Roy Hodgson's men face an uphill battle to qualify for next year's tournament after a disappointing 1-1 draw against Montenegro earlier this week, raising fears that England could miss out on a spot in football's greatest tournament for the first time since USA '94.
Should the worst happen the FA will directly miss out on an estimated £26 million in tournament prize money and replica shirt revenue, while its current £50m a year in sponsorship revenue would also be trimmed when contracts came up for renewal ("It would be a huge blow" a sports marketing expert told The Sun).
But those numbers are piffling trifles when compared to the knock-on effects for the economy. The Sun reports that missing out on Brazil 2014 could mean disaster in pubs, supermarkets and on the high street.
It's a bold statement, but the paper's stats appear to add up. They kick off with the fact that the British Retail Consortium reported an estimated £600m drop in expected sales when England failed to qualify for Euro 2008.
In addition, pubs, clubs and off-licences reported extra sales of £250m during the 2010 World Cup. When you factor in the perfect time difference between us and Brazil - it's is three hours behind GMT - that figure should be far higher next time round, since there will be fewer afternoon and more evening matches.
All that doesn't even start to look at the supermarkets, who reported huge sales during the last tournament - not least of England-branded vuvuzelas.
With all those factors taken into account the £1bn estimate begins to look fairly sensible - if not slightly conservative.
For a country looking desperately for a way to pull itself out of recession, a World Cup with a Brazilian-inspired party atmosphere could have been just the ticket.
As if there weren't already enough pressure on Roy's boys, eh? Not that footballers picking up a hundred grand a week and driving around in Bentleys probably care too much that the rest of us are mired in recession, of course...