Last week England successfully cleared the final hurdle that sees them qualify for next year’s FIFA World Cup in Brazil by beating Poland 2-0 in an exciting match at Wembley.
Despite the presence of at least 18,000 Polish fans with the knowledge that their team could not qualify for the finals, England overcame their nerves and now prepare for the finals with friendlies against Germany and Chile.
Tens of thousands of England fans have expressed an interest in going to Brazil to cheer on the national team and thousands of them are expected to make the journey so what are the ‘need to know’ facts before you make your decision?
First, there are only two international airports in Brazil with direct flights from London. Guarulhos in Sao Paulo
in Rio both have BA flights from Heathrow. Surprisingly, the capital Brasilia doesn’t have a flight from the UK.
For now, no one knows which team will play in which city, apart from the hosts Brazil. This means that booking onward flights to any of the venues could be a mistake until the groups and the corresponding venues are announced on the 6th December. After that date, England fans will be racing to book international and domestic flights to get them to the venues for the all-important group stage matches. The final will be staged in the Maracana Stadium in Rio on the 13th July but only the very optimistic expect England to be playing a part.
Accommodation bookings are said to be rocketing, despite fans not knowing their destinations yet nor how far along the journey their national teams will get.
Car hire is expected to also enjoy a boost and in a country renowned for crime and corruption, pre-booking to ensure a fixed price for car rental, guaranteed quality and a safe way to get from the airport to your hotel, will be essential.
Fans are being advised to keep an eye on the Foreign and Commonwealth Office website for advice on safety in the cities and around the stadiums. Despite the increase in police patrols and a wholesale clean-up of the country’s crime culture, it’s expected that pickpockets, muggers and more violent crimes could increase with the influx of naïve football fans.
Health should also be a consideration and, depending on your destination, you’ll need to talk to your general practitioner about vaccines and inoculations for malaria, typhoid and in some areas yellow fever.
For now, spend your time worrying about who England’s group opponents will be knowing that we will face one of the eight seeded teams including Brazil and Germany.