TheFA.com's Insider reflects on the first few days in South Africa.
It has been a whirlwind few days since arriving in South Africa on Thursday morning, so much has happened and the breakneck speed of events promises only to quicken as we edge nearer to our opening game with USA in a week's time.
An overnight flight on a luxurious plane combined with the minimal time difference (South Africa is just an hour ahead of UK time) made Thursday a comfortable day for all concerned.
Players and staff alike have experienced transatlantic journeys and Asian excursions in the past, and the effects of jet lag can hamper a team's progress, but that will not be a factor for England in this tournament.
The flight was smooth, leaving Heathrow at 9pm on Wednesday evening and landing just before 8am the next day in Johannesburg. After being served a light evening meal, the players and coaches were able to fully recline their seats and catch forty winks through the night.
The video on demand selection was more than sufficient to help while away the hours on the long haul flight, with a huge catalogue of films and television shows to choose from at the touch of a button. While many opted for the fitting recent film of South African sporting triumph 'Invictus', I went for 'Cloudy with a chance of meatballs'.
My personal taste, partly related to my five nieces and their cinema preference, has edged towards children's films, especially the animated ones and this one was true to form of the recent crop.
We touched down in sunny conditions and once through passport control boarded the coach for our base camp, the Royal Bafokeng Sports Campus two hours north.
On arrival, there was a wonderful greeting of music and dancing from the hotel staff, and really set the tone for the warm and accommodating atmosphere within the complex.
Lunch was served almost immediately after arriving, and once the players had received room keys and changed into their tracksuits everyone sat down for the first meal.
In the afternoon, the players trained for the first time on the superb surface, which is a short walk from the hotel reception.
Friday was our first full day in South Africa, and what a day it turned out to be. The devastating news of Rio Ferdinand's injury overshadowed everything else that happened, a huge blow to Fabio Capello and the squad to lose the captain so close to the beginning of the tournament.
It was quite a busy day besides that news, with our first open training session and Fabio Capello speaking to the press on the first day of business for the England media centre - a facility universally praised by all who have frequented it thus far.
After lunch Fabio Capello, Steven Gerrard, John Terry, Wayne Rooney and Sir Trevor Brooking took part in a live video conference back to Wembley where FA President Prince William was touring the FA offices. See a video of that by clicking here.
Then before dinner, FIFA came to the hotel for the official team meeting to discuss all manner of issues surrounding the tournament, and ensure that the players, coaches and team staff were fully briefed on everything they can expect at the World Cup.
After the hour long meeting, FIFA also required headshots of the players and staff for accreditation passes, and this was rattled through extremely quickly.
The major issue of the day was still present throughout everything else that happened. It is obviously a massive personal setback for Rio. Having been to three World Cups with England, the Manchester United defender was set to enter an elite band of players to be part of four finals, and to top it all would be wearing the captain's armband while doing it.
A hugely popular figure within the squad, it is a major disappointment for everyone here.
But as in life, time waits for no man, and the show must go on for England. Michael Dawson arrived on Saturday morning and within minutes of stepping foot inside the hotel was stepping onto the training pitch with the rest of the squad. A really bubbly character even after such a long flight, Dawson was straight down to business with the rest of the squad.
Frank Lampard spoke to the media on Saturday morning, a close friend and former West Ham United team-mate he spoke of his personal disappointment for Rio, but that the resolve of the squad was as strong as ever.
That defiant attitude will be crucial as England edge ever nearer to the first game of the World Cup.
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