It's match-day here at the England team hotel in Durban and the minds are firmly
It's match-day here at the England team hotel in Durban and the minds are firmly focused on the Three Lions' first outing since the Euro Qualifier against Turkey last month...
South Africa v England
International Friendly, Durban
Thursday 22nd May, 19.30
Conscious that there has been a lot of travelling over the last couple of days, Sven has specifically designed today's schedule to allow for physical rest along with mental preparation.
Yet, though the nature of today's breakfast was late and relaxed, Tord Grip was up bright and early to take a walk along the Durban coast. Others preferred to take a more measured approach with Brian Kidd, Sammy Lee and Dave Sexton enjoying a glass of orange juice and a discussion about some of tonight's tactical permutations as they overlooked the crashing waves on the restaurant balcony.
The UEFA Cup Final was on the big screen here last night and Tord Grip was impressed but not surprised by the performance and goals of Henrik Larsson. The coach and player were both part of the Sweden squad that reached the Semi-Finals of the World Cup in 1994 and the mutual respect remains strong.
Meanwhile, at the other end of town last night an FA delegation led by Sven attended the official launch of South Africa's 2010 Soccer World Cup bid at Durban's International Convention Centre.
South Africa's Deputy President Jacob Zuma delivered a keynote address in which he summed up his country's desire and ambition to host football's biggest competition.
"The World Cup must come to the Southern tip of Africa," he said.
"I say this because our experience speaks for itself. We have hosted global events like the racism conference, the cricket world cup, the world summit on sustainable development and we are a soccer crazy nation. Victory is ours this time."
England skipper David Beckham has already pledged his support to South Africa's bid and it is without doubt that the relations between the respective Football Associations has come a long way since both vied to host the 2006 World Cup.
The faces of the 100 South African school children that were invited to attend England's Wednesday night training session epitomised the excitement that the whole country is feeling here ahead of the big game.
They now only have hours to wait....
Here's the England camp's match-day schedule:
Breakfast until 10.30*
12.45 Match day meeting No.1
17.30 Pre-match meal
18.20 Match day meeting No.2
18.30 Depart for ASBA Stadium
20.30 Kick off
Post-match - Destination La Manga
- All times are South African local (one hour ahead of English)
- Guess where tonight's match officials are from? Mauritius
From Daniel Freedman at the England team base in Durban
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South Africa v England: Match Centre