UK & World News

  • 2 June 2014, 11:04

Hodgson In World Cup National Anthem Pledge

Manager Roy Hodgson has promised his England players will belt out the national anthem at the World Cup in Brazil.

England's footballers have been criticised for not singing God Save The Queen with as much passion as their compatriots in other sports, most notably rugby.

Wayne Rooney did not sing the national anthem at the start of his England career while Gary Neville, now an England coach, refused to join in.

He said he preferred "focusing on the match" instead.

But Hodgson, who has been England boss for two years, is adamant all his team should sing the anthem before kick-off.

"You very rarely play an international match against opponents and they haven't got their hands on their hearts and singing their anthem as loud as they can," he said.

"We've made a decision that that's what we're going to do, too, because we are proud, we are happy to be wearing that England shirt."

As his 23-man squad contains 12 players who were not part of Euro 2012, Hodgson will remind them they must sing along this summer.

"Perhaps we need to remind them as the squad has changed so much," he said.

"I think we're great until the second verse comes along because we don't really know that."

After warm-up games against Ecuador and Honduras in Miami this week, England will take on Italy in their World Cup opener in Manaus on June 14.

England's departure on Sunday was hit by a moment of farce when comedian Simon Brodkin gatecrashed the party as they arrived at Luton Airport.

Brodkin was pictured attempting to mingle with England's players and staff as they waited for the luggage to be removed from their coach.

Dressed in an identical suit to those worn by the England party, he spent several moments with them before being spotted by captain Steven Gerrard, at which point he was removed by security staff.

Meanwhile, the final test event has been held at the unfinished stadium which will host the World Cup opener between Brazil and Croatia on June 12.

Around 70,000 fans are expected at the Itaquerao in Sao Paulo but just 37,000 attended the trial match between Corinthians and Botafogo on Sunday.

Only one of the temporary stands added for the inaugural World Cup game could be used because of safety concerns.

There were no problems inside or outside the stadium, although the match was briefly interrupted after balloons released by fans made it onto the pitch.