TheFA.com's Insider talks about the first week in the England camp.
We are at the end of a working week, and it certainly has been that for the players and coaches as they lay the foundations for what is to come in South Africa.
As he has done many times in his successful managerial career, Fabio Capello has brought a group of players to the Styrian mountains in preparation for a serious footballing challenge ahead. With AS Roma a decade ago it was the Serie A title, with Real Madrid it was La Liga, and now with England it is the World Cup.
There is an unspoken understanding amongst the staff and players of just what this time is for; to work hard, to be ready and to come together as a group.
With all the talk of steely focus and determination it is important to relate the relaxed and comfortable atmosphere that has developed since arriving here in Austria. Away from any distractions, sheltered from everything but the occasional rain shower, England have found a location of genuine tranquility to restore minds as well as bodies to match fitness. There is also good humour, so crucial in keeping everyone from climbing the walls after four or five weeks in the company of a few dozen other people.
There were doubts at the start of the week as to whether we would be able to travel, but thankfully they subsided and we were cleared to fly as planned at Monday lunchtime.
From landing in Graz it was a two hour coach ride to Irdning, and within minutes of arriving at the hotel everyone was back out for the first session at the nearby training ground.
Getting straight out onto the pitch set the tone for the week and the sessions have been bright and sharp each day.
On Wednesday we held our media open day, with training completely open to journalists and broadcasters followed by media conferences with a selection of players. You will have seen a few of those on television and in the newspapers, Jamie Carragher then James Milner and on Saturday it will be Peter Crouch...you'll have to wait and see who the other two players were! Fabio Capello conducted his media briefings as well, and it made for a hectic day, but everything got done to allow more time during the rest of the week for training.
Stuart Pearce and Christian Lattanzio both sparked the growing band of cyclists who are up with the lark and traverse the local terrain on two wheels each day. Leif Sward, Ray Clemence and Franco Baldini have also joined the pelotton, as well as a handful of support staff.
On Wednesday evening The FA Cup Final players arrived shortly before dinner, weary from travel but the Chelsea quartet certainly buoyed by a League and Cup Double. Their arrival brought our group to 29 players with Gareth Barry the only member of the provisional squad not out here, recovering from injury back home.
On Thursday some of the players, and a few of the coaches, were able to play a few holes of golf after training in the afternoon to break the routine. While the weather has been cooler than usual for this time of year, it has not been unpleasant enough to deter anyone from exploring the incredible scenery surrounding the hotel.
Friday night gave everyone the chance to watch another England team, Kenny Swain's U17s, as they played their second game at the European Championship Finals which was fortunately being screened on German Eurosport. A fierce header from Ross Barkley separated England from Greece, giving the Young Lions passage to the semi-finals.
Today brings further training sessions, the Championship Play-Off Final, the Champions League Final and our penultimate day in Irdning. On Sunday we will fly home in the afternoon ahead of the Tickets For Troops International at Wembley - the last chance to play in front of the home fans before the World Cup.
This game will be a tribute to the Armed Forces who commit so much of themselves for their fellow countrymen, and to whom we owe so much. It will also be an important match little over a week before Fabio Capello will name his final squad of 23 players who will be on the plane to South Africa.
The tournament is almost here, but few would complain about a week longer in the peaceful environment of Irdning.