Despite avoiding many of the pre-tournament favourites, England’s football cognoscenti still consider the country to be in the most difficult group along with Uruguay, Costa Rica and more worryingly, Italy.
It’s not only the football team that is cursing its bad luck, for many of England’s ardent supporters, the thought of cheering on their team in the heart of the hot and steamy Amazon jungle is unappetising. England’s opener against Italy on the 14th June will be played in Manaus at 2300 BST, having been brought forward three hours to suit TV schedules.
The city is a five hour flight from Rio, England’s base for the campaign and the likely arrival point for many fans. Those considering hiring a car and driving between the cities face over a day on the road, something not advised by the Foreign and Commonwealth Office which has warned fans that Brazil’s roads
are amongst the most dangerous in the world.
Other difficulties fans will face include temperatures in the high eighties but with nearly 100% humidity, it will be hot, sticky and energy sapping. The conditions are also perfect for mosquitos and travelling fans should ensure they are fully vaccinated for Hepatitis A, Typhoid, Malaria and Yellow Fever.
Five days later, England travel to Sao Paulo for their next match against Uruguay. Sao Paulo is nearly 1700 miles from Manaus and again entails a 36 hour drive or a nearly five hour flight between the cities. Less humidity and chance of disease here but you’ll possibly encounter Brazil’s problem with violent crime and again the FCO have issued advice for fans including avoiding getting drunk which may leave them more vulnerable, avoiding certain areas of the city after dark and being wary of car-jacking in parts of the city.
Our team’s final group match against Costa Rica is in the attractive city of Belo Horizonte, a six hour drive from Sao Paulo and around an hour by plane. Whilst the city is pretty, it’s also riddled with drug crime and muggings of tourists are common. Follow sensible rules, including not carrying expensive electronics and a lot of money around with you, and you are likely to be OK.
If England make it through the group stage, It’ll be off to Rio or Recife, depending on whether we win the group or come second and likely games against Colombia or Greece.
For now though, if you’re booking your trip to see the 3 Lions in action, take heed of our advice and that of the FCO – you’ll want to return from Brazil with happy memories and maybe even those of a famous English victory against Brazil in the final!