Monday was really nice.
My mam, dad and missus have been out here for these first two games, and when we were back at base and had done our recovery on Monday, I managed to get away for a few hours.
I went into St Petersburg so we went for a meal and a catch-up. It was good too. We went to a nice little restaurant close to the marina and the scran was unbelievable.
- Born: Washington, 7 March 1994
- Clubs: Sunderland, Everton
- Caps: U16, U17, U18, U19, U21, Senior
- Twitter: @JPickford1
- Instagram: @JPickford1
It’s good to be able to get away from football the day after a game and it gives you a fresh mind going into the next day’s training.
It’s something that the gaffer has been really good at and it’s worked perfectly for us as a group. We prepare and concentrate on each game at a time and then once it’s clear, we have chance to see our family.
So after Sunday’s game and our recovery on Monday morning, everyone had a few hours to themselves to go and see family or friends who are out here.
Everyone appreciates it and my brother and a few mates are going to be coming out for the Belgium game on Thursday, so it will be good to see them after that game too.
It’s been a good World Cup and it’s been enjoyable to watch a few of the other games as well.
I’m not one of those lads who will watch all of the games, every day, but I’ll watch a couple of them inbetween our own matches.
Out of the games I’ve seen, the Argentina-Iceland was one I enjoyed, as my Everton team-mate Gylfi Sigurdsson was playing and then the Sweden-Germany game the other night was a good one to watch. They’re the sort of games you want to be watching when you’re not playing yourself.
There’s that much ability in all of the squads that anyone can beat anyone and, there’s been a few upsets so that’s proving to be what this World Cup is all about.
A couple of the lads have been watching it all, like every game they can, but I tend to do other stuff in my downtime once the training and recovery is done. It seems to be a popular option, but I do like to get on the PlayStation and have a few games of Fortnite.
But as a squad, we’re all looking forward to that Belgium game now. The first two games with Tunisia and Panama were crucial, to make sure we could qualify for the next stage as quickly as we could, but we always knew Belgium were going to be the toughest opponent in the group.
We know that we’ve made a very good start, but we want to make that even better. We knew to beat Tunisia and Panama, we’d need to be on our A-game and we’ve managed to get the results we wanted.
Now we can go and try to express ourselves again and hopefully show how good we are against a top opponent and hopefully, we’ll get the win.