England boss Roy Hodgson said he was only focused on reaching the 2014 World Cup after Football Association chairman Greg Dyke revealed he did not expect the team to win the tournament.
Dyke said nobody "realistically thinks" England will the tournament.
"I very much doubt we're at the top of any bookmakers' list to win the World Cup in Brazil," said Hodgson, whose team play Moldova on Friday.
"So let us first qualify and then aim to get a bit better for Brazil."
The game against Moldova at Wembley on Friday is the first of two crucial qualifiers with England then travelling to face Ukraine on Tuesday.
England trail Group H leaders Montenegro by two points heading into this round of games with Hodgson's team having a game in hand.
Hodgson was speaking after Dyke unveiled his vision for the national side which included reaching the semi-finals of Euro 2020 and winning the World Cup in 2022.
"What bothers me is not whether we win the World Cup; it's giving the performances we need to make sure we make the World Cup," added the England manager.
England captain Steven Gerrard also revealed focus within the squad is on their upcoming World Cup qualifiers.
"I don't want to get involved in a worldwide debate about English football. Getting to this World Cup is my priority," said the Liverpool midfielder.
"There hasn't been a reaction. None of the players are talking about what Greg said. They're all focused on getting the six points from these two games.
"We're focused on a strong performance. It won't be on proving any individuals wrong."
In Wednesday's wide-ranging speech, Dyke warned England may not be able to compete seriously on the world stage without changes in the domestic game.
The FA chairman will set up a commission to ask key questions on how England can change its long-term prospects.
He described the English game as a "tanker which needs turning" citing the amount of foreign players limiting chances for English players.
Dyke also said he was open to an exploration of a quota system for foreign players, examining the current work permit system, examining the loan system and evaluating the pros and cons of a mid-season break.
"I endorse the things the chairman said," said Hodgson.
"I saw the speech beforehand. I haven't followed all of the responses to it.
"We've only got one focus. I'm not suggesting we shouldn't think about what's good for English football but our concern is can we beat Moldova and get the points we need in Ukraine?"