UK & World News

  • 8 June 2014, 22:58

World Cup: England Touch Down At Rio Base

Troops with riot shields and machine guns have greeted England as they pulled into their World Cup hotel in Rio de Janeiro.

After their nine-hour flight from Miami, security was high as the team arrived at the Royal Tulip hotel.

Overlooking a beach - which is reportedly often polluted by sewage - and some way from the heart of the tourist action in Copacabana, it is not perhaps the luxury location that some players might have expected.

Preparation for Saturday's opener against Italy starts on Monday, when England hold an open training session at the Urca military base in the shadow of Rio's iconic Sugar Loaf mountain.

The facility has been newly kitted out with gym equipment and a fresh pitch for the team's arrival.

The squad will be in Rio for just a few days before jumping on a plane and heading north again with a four-hour flight to Manaus, where they play Italy at the weekend.

Much has been made of the hot and humid weather in the Amazonian city and the current outlook looks rather sticky - 32F with 71% humidity.

But England boss Roy Hodgson has said the team will have enough time to acclimatise and has also downplayed the significance of the team's recent warm-up matches

Saturday's game against Honduras, rated 1500/1 to win the tournament, ended in a barren 0-0 stalemate.

Ecuador also held England to a 2-2 draw earlier this week.

"I have to say these warm-up games, I don't know that they necessarily answer many questions," said Hodgson.

"You answer your questions over a long period of time.

"When I look at the other warm-up games I am pretty certain I am not alone in thinking it's just a way of getting yourself to Rio where the real tournament begins."

Hodgson said the mood among the squad was one of "quiet optimism".

"Now is when the real football begins and I am happy that we are in good spirits and the players have really done as much as we could ask of them."

England's other group matches are on June 19 against Uruguay, and June 24 against Costa Rica.