World Cup 2018 England arrive in Russia for tournament

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Englands arrival at their secluded Repino base was the very definition of low-key as the media and the traditional group of photographers easily outnumbered the locals when the bus made its way slowly through the gates. It is optimistic to suggest 100 were in attendance.

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I will take a brief moment to take it in and then prepare for the matches we have got – and the task starts from when we get to the hotel.

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Moments after landing, Southgate told BBC Sport that Manchester United striker Marcus Rashford picked up a slight knock in training and will be assessed before Wednesdays open training session.

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They landed at St Petersburg airport and will be based in the nearby village of Repino, in north west Russia.

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Ive talked before about there being a disconnect between the supporters and the team and Ive felt that theres different ways to bridge that, Southgate said. The most important is the way you play, and your performances and your results.

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Englands players complained of boredom at their base during their ill-fated 2010 World Cup campaign, which ended with a 4-1 defeat by Germany in the last 16.

Southgates side have warmed up with wins overNigeriaandCosta Rica,with many pundits praising the effective – and sometimes stylish – football on show.

The tournament begins on Thursday when hosts Russia face Saudi Arabia at 16:00 BST.

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But Shearer says boredom should not be a factor in Russia.

England also face Panama on 24 June and Belgium, one of the pre-tournament favourites, on 28 June.

Englands first game in Group G is against Tunisia on Monday.

We like the town and we like St Petersburg, said Southgate. Hopefully the players and family will get an opportunity to go into St Petersburg when not working.

We have taken the hotel for ourselves which will be good for the balance of working and players being able to relax and have time for themselves. I am pleased with the base and looking forward to meeting the community.

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We hope we can send people to work the following day having enjoyed our matches, said Southgate.

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We ask people to pay a lot of money to watch football. In the end, we want to entertain where we possibly can.

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England have arrived in Russia before the World Cup, with manager Gareth Southgate saying he wants his team to play with flair and entertain the nation.

We have a great bond together, we are similar ages and all get on, said Kane.

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Then it was time to acclimatise to their new surroundings before the serious business starts with their first training session at Zelenogorsk on Wednesday.

Reigning champions Germany have also arrived, landing at Vnukovo airport in south west Moscow. They open their campaign against Mexico on Sunday.

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England captain Harry Kane revealed the players would spend their spare time playing table tennis or the computer game Fortnite.

It should be the best three or four weeks of your life – you dont have to do a thing, Shearer told BBC Sport. For four weeks of your life, you shouldnt get bored.

Their displays have been in contrast to Englands performances in recent years, which critics say have been hallmarked by disjointed and often dull football -just 40,000 fans turned upfor a friendly against Norway at Wembley in 2014, andsome travelling fans booedat the end of a 4-0 win in Malta last year.

World Cup 2018 England arrive in Russia for tournament

We are seeing a team that is enjoying each others company, getting on well, is very proud to represent the nation.

There was no large welcoming party for England but Southgate may not be unhappy about that as he tries to go about his World Cup business quietly – with some of the locals only staying to observe the scene because the police and military briefly halted all traffic to let England through.

England will be staying at the ForRest Mix Club on Repino, less than an hours drive away from St Petersburg, with a population of 2,400.

To lead England as a manager is an incredibly proud moment, said Southgate, who won 57 caps for England and played at the 1998 and 2002 World Cups.

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We know we are not the finished article – in fact, were a long way from it – but I think people see signs of progress and enjoy watching us and the manner in which we try to play.

If we do all of those things and we play with a smile on our face, enjoy our football, enjoy being in a tournament, then I think we will get results.

Read more on World Cup Catch-up: Russia march on as Senegal fans dazzle

There seems to be a very good team spirit, an openness within the squad to speak to the press, and both press and players seem to have enjoyed it.

Former England striker Alan Shearer says the team has had a very positive build-up and Southgate has selection headaches, which is good.

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Ultimately, we know well be judged on results – but we have to focus on the processes.

Englands win over Tunisia gives Gareth Southgate plenty to build on – but there are flaws too, writes Phil McNulty.

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