BLOG: Glenn Lavery's inside view on England at the World Cup.
After spending eight days in Germany, England finally got their World Cup campaign underway on Monday evening against Mexico, and they came away a bit disappointed with the 1-1 draw.
They had prepared very well all week, apart from when one training session had to be abandoned due to monsoon-like weather (you can see how bad it was in the first part of Jill Scott's video diary
), and by the morning of the game they were itching to get going.
Hope had said the players were as prepared as they could have been, and for the opening half-an-hour everything was going to plan. Fara Williams
had put England ahead with an excellent header and at that stage they were clearly outplaying their North American opponents. Then Mexico equalised through Monica Ocampo’s wonder strike and England never really recovered, but still came away with a point.
The players weren’t too downbeat after the game, though. They unanimously believe they should have capitalised on their supremacy and scored more in the first half. The attention has immediately shifted to the New Zealand game on Friday, and that gives me an opportunity to fill you in on events off the pitch.
As well as the training in Wolfsburg’s old Academy, part of England’s preparations for their World Cup opener included a lot of off-field bonding. Williams has been the main force behind various games of poker in the players’ room, while Sophie Bradley
organised a doubles table tennis tournament, which includes staff and players (yours truly and Williams are into the second round where we will take on Casey Stoney
and Dunia Susi
In addition, last Saturday, a night of fun and games really helped the players relax. They had been in Wolfsburg for six days, had trained hard all week and Hope thought it would be good to let the players unwind. It was left to Alex Scott
and Kelly Smith
to organise an ‘In It To Win It’ quiz, though it was less of a quiz and more challenge/activity based. Face the Cookie
, Shoe Fly Shoe
, Penny Hose
, Dizzy Mummy
and Candy Elevator
were just some of the ten games the Boston Breakers duo came up with. They said they had seen some of the games on an American TV show, but had made the others up, and in teams of five or six, players and staff proceeded to make utter fools of themselves in front of the rest of the group, provoking much hilarity (you can watch clips of the fun and games here
). A shopping trip to the local designer outlet was also squeezed in before the Mexico game.
We are now in Dresden, following a four-hour coach journey on Tuesday afternoon and have checked into the same hotel as New Zealand. The journey to Dresden was far less torturous than it could have been, though a mixture of sleep, iPods, laptops and DVDs - and a pit stop at a service station - certainly helped.
On Wednesday morning we will be meeting with the Mayor of Dresden, Helma Orosz, and that will no doubt bring back memories of the recent trip to Downing Street, when some of the girls met the Prime Minister who wished them well for the tournament
.This was my first-ever attempt at a blog so I’m not overly sure what they should and shouldn’t contain just yet, but if I haven’t given you exactly what you want, just let me know. You can either e-mail Editor@TheFA.com or tweet your blog suggestions to @laveryglenn, where you can also follow my World Cup updates.
I’ll hopefully be able to provide one more blog before Friday’s game – providing something happens...