The boys resting, the hotel is calm. But outside there are other forces afoot
So the preparation is over. After a session practising set-pieces down at the training ground, the meeting with Spain is just a few hours away and the lads are now in their rooms resting after lunch. We leave for Gothenburg, just over an hour away, at 6pm Swedish time.
With thoughts of the game in my mind, the nerves are starting to build – it’s hard to know what the players are thinking. A win tonight and we qualify for the semi-final with a match to spare in the group.
We don’t usually do it that way, but the players know just what is required of them after a hard-working performance against Finland on Monday.
I got a sneak preview earlier of the video Stuart Pearce will show the players before they step out on the Gamla Ullevi turf tonight. It was stirring stuff; goose bumps, pride, hairs on the back of my neck standing. If it has the same effect with the players, we’re in for a good night.
With the boys sleeping, I took the opportunity to step outside onto the beach just twenty yards from our office.
Now the forecasts, following a few days of sun, didn’t look great for the next few days – rain, rain and rain – like when we arrived here last week. It was hammering against my window as I awoke this morning, but in the afternoon the sun has come out again, but it’s very windy.
Down on the beach you can really see the power of mother nature – if it wants to flatten anything it will. Waves are crashing against the rocks as the wind whistles. Not ideal football weather, but the windsurfers around the other side of the cove are having the time of their lives in what Stuart said was even bigger waves when he returned from his run.
The weather is changeable, as we from England know all too well. Just yesterday the same sea was quiet, almost flat. But today it’s full of energy, full of power, full of excitement. Don’t mess with the sea when it’s in this mood you’ll never win.
It’s quiet in the hotel. Calm, still.
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