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World Cup Diary: More misery for England as Suarez strikes

| 20.06.2014

England are now on the brink of World Cup elimination as a Luis Suarez-inspired Uruguay broke the hearts of the Three Lions to snatch a 2-1 victory that leaves Roy Hodgson’s side needing a minor miracle to get out of Group D.

Despite the result the relatively small number of England fans that forked out to come to Brazil have been making the most of their trip.

And I was at the heart of the action in Sao Paulo to capture the anticipation and eventual disappointment felt by the fans (and media!) in the build-up and aftermath of a crushing defeat.

06:00-  I’m up to film my preview for Ladbrokes TV and the first thing I notice is that the weather has taken even more of a turn for the worse since yesterday. It’s cold, overcast and drizzly. In other words, these are perfect English playing conditions.

06:43 – A couple of England fans spotted up and about already on the Avenue Paulista.  No idea what time the pubs open here…

08:30 –  Back to the hotel for breakfast and plenty of England fans arriving, the majority without tickets. Stories and tips being exchanged as  to how it might be best to track spares down but so far it seems there won’t be much change from £500 for anyone in the market.

10:15 –  Market update – in an identical fashion to the Italy game, the money is coming for England in no uncertain terms. Looks like they could actually go off odds-on this time round.

12:10 – Not wishing to seem like a pessimist or anything, but in the name of being prepared, I email our traders requesting odds for the next England manager and Roy Hodgson to leave before the start of the Euro 2016 qualifiers. Here’s hoping they don’t see the light of day.

14:00 –  Some England fans head to the stadium in the hunt for tickets whereas others play it safer by plotting up in a pub opposite the Fan Fest. Strong flag turnout, with the Hull ‘the history is in the name’ my favourite effort.


15:30 –  There’s a really different feel here compared to Rio and there’s nowhere like the same level of locals turning out for matches in the Fan Fest. I’d say no more than 5% of the crowd are English while well over half are Uruguayan.

They’re a lively bunch for sure but they don’t seem to have the raw enthusiasm of the Chileans or the swagger of the Argentines.


16:00 –  Anthem time in the fan fest and GSTQ is belted out with all the gusto and passion you’d expect. There seemed to be more of a pro-England feel in Rio and Manaus from the locals but in Sao Paulo I only spot one Paulista in a Three Lions shirt, admittedly making a decent go at the anthem.  Uruguyan anthem a much rowdier affair.



16:02 –  In trying to snap the England fans in full flow I notice I’ve been photobomed by a wacky local who was masquerading as a radio reporter. Plenty of characters in this town.

16:39 –  The moment and the man we’ve been dreading pops up to send the majority of the Fan Fest into raptures. As per Rio, beer flies everywhere with some even forming an impromptu mosh pit.

16:50 – The England fans I’ve spoken to have been here before and remain stoic – you don’t come this far round the world following football to throw the towel in. A point would be fine.

17:45 –  Cometh the hour, cometh the man. Wayne Rooney puts his World Cup goal drought to bed with a decisive strike to whip the red and white pockets of Sao Paulo into an absolute frenzy.

17:55 –  That feeling of euphoria cut short by you know who. Jubilant England fans quickly lose their colour but not hope as they urge their team forward in unison with those lucky enough to be in the stadium and millions at home.

17:56 – I have to nip back to the Fan Fest media centre to send our reaction out to those right on deadline both here and back in the UK. I was expecting a bigger price for England to qualify but our odds compilers give them a squeak at 5/1 while it’s shorter again at 3/1 that Roy Hodgson calls it a day before the start of the Euro 2016 qualifiers.

18:30 –  After all that I need to eat and Brazil’s legendary portion sizes don’t fail to disappoint again. I’ve got a wedding to go to in a few weeks when I get back (not my own) and as it stands I’m long odds-on have to take the suit trousers to be taken out. When in Rome and all that..

19:00 –  Credit to the England fans who are knocking about who have taken defeat in good spirits. Of course, technically we’re still in the competition but at the same time and more importantly they aren’t letting the result get in the way of them making the most of their holiday in Brazil.

There are plenty of songs being sung highlighting how much they are letting their hair down which I can’t repeat here. You’ll get the gist of it I expect.


22:00 –  I make it back to the hotel to dump my laptop and camera and the media are returning from the post match press conference.

The majority of the guys on the trip are also massive England fans and despite telling everyone themselves not so long ago that expectations had lowered to the point where going out in the group stages isn’t a problem, the sense of disappointment is palpable and if they haven’t already, they plan on letting rip in no uncertain terms.


Read all about my World Cup odyssey on Ladbrokes News and follow me on Twitter @LadsAlex!

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Alex Donohue

One third of Ladbrokes' PR team, Alex covers football, politics and current affairs and is also involved in the bookmaker's SPFL sponsorship.
Check out his latest press releases and odds at Ladbrokes News.