The World Cup is almost a week old and we have seen England already heighten expectations back home by virtue of their impressive 6-2 thrashing of Iran. It has been a really smooth take off on the pitch for Three Lions, while off the field issues surrounding the One Love armband continue to cause controversy.
One big positive for Gareth Southgate’s side is the fact that Argentina, one of the potential knockout opponents, were humbled by a spirited Saudi Arabia side in one of the greatest upsets of World Cup history. England will look at the game and be confident that if Saudi Arabia can beat Argentina, then they will surely have a fair chance of making it happen should they meet at the tournament.
In the media bubble it’s looking quite good, with bonds growing between reporters naturally as a result of spending so much time together. This is one of the most united World Cups for the media as the routine is quite simple: jump on the bus to the games, spend time in a bubble mostly on a table full of English press before heading back to the hotel or grabbing a meal together. It’s becoming a good theme within the press from all parts of the country to pick a restaurant and go out there to have a meal together, reflect on the day and plan for what is to come. So much positivity.
Surprisingly, most journalists have found the competition less stressful than initially thought and it will be interesting to see if the mood changes based on the performance of the England team. There is also a darts corner where players and the press alike can face off on the oche. It’s also quite common to cross-check stories from senior colleagues and work collaboratively.
In the past, there have been reports of a big rift or a gap between the team and press, but that has not been the case here so far as the team media and the press generally seem to be getting on really quite well. As for the facilities, a lovely touch is a little corner where you can help yourself to English breakfast tea or a chilled soft drink if you feel the sweltering temperature is getting too much.
As for the air conditioning, they are quite really impressive in that you can literally jump from almost 30 degrees to 16 degrees within the blink of an eye.