The England players have been treated to exceptional levels of courtesy...
The England players have been treated to exceptional levels of courtesy and kindness since their arrival here in Turkey...
The British Airways flight arrived into Istanbul airport at around 8pm local time on Thursday night and the team were greeted by scores of news crews and hundreds of fans as they walked through to the coach waiting outside.
Sven-Goran Eriksson was presented with a garland of flowers while one Turkish girl's attempts to get her book signed by her hero so touched David Beckham that he asked The FA's security staff to go back into the airport to retrieve the book in order that he could autograph it before the coach left for the team hotel.
That hotel is The Ritz Carlton and the hospitality to which the team has been treated since arrival here has been exceptional.
The helpful staff all speak English and the hotel's facilities are first-class. Pool and table-tennis tables awaited the players in the leisure area, while chef Roger Narbett had flown ahead to prepare the team's first dinner on Turkish soil.
With David Platt's Under-21 side also staying in the same hotel, there was a chance for Sven's men to catch up with friends and club-mates before many headed to bed via the massage room to work off the aches and strains of a Thursday that had included a rigorous training session prior to the three hour flight to Turkey.
Sven also has a smile on his face so it seems that, after a testing few days, the change of surroundings has allowed everyone to move on and concentrate on the football.
The players will be afforded a rest on Friday morning before their all-important last training session before the game. That will be at 6pm local time (4pm English) and it will be in the Fenerbahce Stadium that will hosts Saturday's cruicial match.
The weather is dull and there is drizzling rain here in Istanbul - the England players really do feel at home!
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From Dan Freedman in the England Team Hotel in Istanbul