Our First Few Days In Rio

After settling in to our familiar accommodation in Barra, on the western side of Rio, Chris (Brunskill), Ben (Queenborough) and I decided to head out for a few drinks nearby with our host, Joe. Joe’s part of the Jennings Bookmakers family and a former school mate of mine from Framlingham, in Suffolk. He’s not shy of a few words and he loves his football too, so he was kean to hear all about our plans for the next six weeks.

The bulk of Tuesday was spent journeying to and from the Maracana Stadium, the venue for the Final, and also the most convenient location for us to collect our tournament accreditation. We met Matt (Ashton), the final member of our house, who had just arrived from Miami, and proceeded to the ground.

Every host city has a range of facilities available to the international media. This includes Accreditation Centres, where all members of the media have to visit in the build-up to the tournament in order to collect their accreditation badges that will enable us to enter the stadium.

The first step was over. You’re always prepared for there to be a hitch of some sort, but it went as smoothly as as we could’ve wished for. Before long, we were on the metro heading away from the stadium and down to Copacabana to catch some lunch before heading back to the apartment.

On Wednesday, we woke early and jumped in a taxi to head into Rio. The England squad had a training session scheduled, and accredited media had been granted access to cover the first fifteen minutes. We fought our way through the morning rush hour and arrived at the Urca Military Base, the squad’s training camp for the tournament, just before 9am.

A local man was preparing his rowing boats for business nearby…a stark contrast to the multi-million pound operation going on just yards from where he stood…

 

A local man unties his rowing boat in the morning close to the Urca military base in Rio
A local man unties his rowing boat in the morning close to the Urca military base in Rio

 

Greeted by a number of armed personnel, we were escorted through the barriers and along to the Media Centre soon after. A huge banner of the England crest adorned the outside of the Media Centre, a building which itself laid in the shadow of the incredible backdrop that is the almighty Sugar Loaf Mountain. The sheer-sided rock protrudes out of the ground, dwarfing even the largest man-made structures in it’s vicinity. It was a sight to behold, and I’m sure will leave England’s players in no doubt of where they are and what they’re competing for this summer every time they step out onto the training pitch…

 

England's Urca training base sits in the shadow of the almighty Sugar Loaf Mountain in Rio de Janeiro
England’s Urca training base sits in the shadow of the almighty Sugar Loaf Mountain in Rio de Janeiro

 

England players go for a light jog during their training session
England players go for a light jog during their training session

 

Steven Gerrard takes a drink during England's training session in Rio
Steven Gerrard takes a drink during England’s training session in Rio

 

Leighton Baines throws a ball during the training session
Leighton Baines throws a ball during the training session

 

England manager Roy Hodgson strolls across the training pitch in Rio
England manager Roy Hodgson strolls across the training pitch in Rio

 

The training session was followed by a press conference. On this occasion, Wayne Rooney was the man chosen to speak to the media. Known traditionally to be a man of limited responses anf even more limited facial expressions, I decided not to bother too much with pictures of a ‘talking head’. Instead, I chose to use the new surroundings to see if I could find something a little different…

 

Wayne Rooney takes his seat for the press conference
Wayne Rooney takes his seat for the press conference

 

Wayne Rooney (L) sits alongside Media Officer Stuart Mawhinney during the press conference
Wayne Rooney (L) sits alongside Media Officer Stuart Mawhinney during the press conference

 

Advertisements

Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in:

WordPress.com Logo

You are commenting using your WordPress.com account. Log Out / Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out / Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out / Change )

Google+ photo

You are commenting using your Google+ account. Log Out / Change )

Connecting to %s