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|Posted: Wed Jul 11, 2018 2:25 am Post subject: Three Lions fever in sleepy
|While the country goes into overdrive http://www.officialchicagoblackhawks.com/Adidas-Nick-Schmaltz-Jersey preparing Y.A. Tittle Womens Jersey for England’s first World Cup semi-final in 28 years, the mood at the team’s base camp in Repino, a coastal town outside St Petersburg, was calm and focused, with few obvious signs that football fever has taken hold among the locals.
In the wooded parkland opposite the team hotel children played on a climbing frame while an elderly couple strolled arm in arm. The only evidence that anything was different from a normal mild summer afternoon in this resort on the Gulf of Finland was the high security around the ForRest Mix hotel which has been on lockdown since England arrived.
Armed police were stationed at various points around the pine forest, with a patrol car at the main entrance to the country club. A minibus carrying several camouflage-wearing soldiers was parked a couple of hundred metres down the road, as it has been for the past month.
They may have expected this particular assignment would be over by now but have remained in position as England have unexpectedly marched through the draw, the soldiers crowding round a smartphone to watch Russia’s World Cup games until the team’s penalty shootout exit on Saturday.
England will leave here on Tuesday around midday and travel by chartered plane to Moscow bound for a semi-final at the Luzhniki Stadium against Croatia on Wednesday evening. It is the first time England have still been in the tournament at this stage since Italia 90 and the defender Kyle Walker admitted it was the biggest chance England have had to win the World Cup since 1966.
“I think it’s the best opportunity that England’s ever had, and probably might ever have,” he said, “because no disrespect to Croatia but the other side of the http://www.footballsteelersofficialstore.com/Nike-Anthony-Chickillo-Jersey.html draw was a lot more difficult.”
The Repino beachfront, separated from England’s hotel by a main road, has the atmosphere of faded glory, with a few restaurants including the popular Stroganoff Bar & Grill but certainly not the high-end establishments Premier League footballers are accustomed to. Past campaigns at major tournaments have seen England stay in upmarket hotels or glamorous resorts but the manager Gareth Southgate deliberately opted for a quiet location with few distractions.
The comedian Frankie Boyle, in his documentary Frankie Goes to Russia released before the World Cup, suggested Three Lions mania could overtake sleepy Repino. There is little evidence of that. The chaotic corner shop closest to England’s hotel was selling kitchen knives, women’s underwear and frisbees but no World Cup paraphernalia. There is no bunting in the cafes or at the supermarket which several members of the team have visited on rest days.
On Monday the 23-strong squad completed a full training session a 10-minute drive away at their camp in Zelenogorsk, which was renovated by the Football Association and will be handed back to the local community after England leave.
Afterwards five members of the squad – Ashley Young, Eric Dier, Walker, Harry Maguire and Dele Alli – were bussed to the nearby Cronwell Park hotel to talk to the media. As part of a Skal Labissiere Womens Jersey new strategy after England’s disastrous Euro 2016 campaign where they crashed out with defeat to Iceland, players have been encouraged to be more open with journalists.
The media centre at Cronwell Park has been transformed into a social club, albeit one that smells slightly of cigarettes as Walker pointed out on Monday. There is a pool table, bowling alley and a darts board where players have taken on the media in a rolling tournament. Sitting on a sofa bedecked with St George’s flag cushions Alli spoke about how Southgate has overseen a change in culture since that loss to Iceland.